Friday, March 9, 2012

Tender Buttons

ROSEMARY HARRIS: I'm pretty sure I've already come clean about my -uh, extensive china collection and possibly the cookie cutters, vintage linens and bakelite radios (if not I'll get to them soon) but this post is about the humble button.

What can I say...every once in a while I go a little button crazy. I like to change the buttons on things. I scour flea markets and tag sales for old buttons - even if I don't have anything to put them on. If they're beautifdul, I want them. And they don't take up nearly as much room as the radios do.

This particular episode was prompted by a tuxedo jacket that was on sale and I just had to buy - even though it had no buttons. I didn't notice until I got it home and by then I was already imagining what I'd wear the jacket with so there was no going back.

I considered going to M&J Trimming, the button capital of New York, and maybe the world. Every size, shape, color, silk, plastic, bone, ribbon, name it. And appliques, boas, silk's heaven. But I was busy, the day got away from me. Tender Buttons was closer, but they're kind of pricey and sell buttons that come with a provenance and a certificate of authenticity - Winston Churchill wore these buttons!

I had no alternative. I went on ebay.

The tuxedo buttons were just the tip of the iceberg. By the end of my two-day binge I had spent close to $100 on - buttons. Czech glass, vintage octogonal enamel, beads and stones. You'd have thought I was ordering fine jewels.

One sweater has already been transformed. My husband was effusive - "nice, honey."

I don't know if anyone else would notice and I suppose I don't really care but dang they make a difference to me!


  1. Really? Buttons! I often won't buy something because of the buttons, but it never occurred to me to replace them.

    When my husband's mother died, our two daughters and I spent hours in her apartment sorting through her button jars. It was lovely. Of course I still have them. Couldn't throw them out.

    Bakelite radios! I can talk endlessly about those. Another time...

  2. Ro,
    What an eye for detail! A long time ago, I used to knit sweators and I would find incredibly cool buttons to finish them with, but since then, I confess, I've fallen down on my button viligence.

    But I applaud yours, and the drive to replace entire sets of buttons.

    I also have to confess I have no idea what a bakelite radio is.

  3. that's vigilence,.

    I'm on the road, commenting by Iphone, on teeny tiny keyboard without reading glasses, so please forgive errors.

  4. Rosemary:

    Why NOT buy buttons that appeal to you?! I have purchased interesting buttons at tag sales - and I don't sew! I tell myself that "maybe someday"I will replace ordinary buttons on my clothes with some of the more interesting ones I have run across. Some came from my grandmother's sewing kit and I can only assume that they fell off some of her dresses and she never got around to sewing them back on. She died in 1969 and was in a nursing home for two years before she died so I don't know how long she had been hanging on to them. I also do not know which buttons in my collection are hers and which are the ones that I gathered over the years. And oh,yeah, I rarely buy clothing that has buttons,unless the buttons are accent pieces. But I sometimes make beaded jewelry and it has been in the back of my mind for a long time that I might be able to find a way to use some of these buttons. Someday.

    Just wondering if there have been problems with the website today. At the beginning of my lunch break I usually take a quick look at JRW at my desk -I have it in my Favorites - just to see the topic of the day and then log on to it later in my break from my Kindle. Well, my office computer had a two year old JRW post and NO way to get to today! (Sunflares,anyone?)

    I will now see if the Captcha Clan will allow me to post this.

  5. Many, many years ago my mom worked for a clothing company in NYC. Out of this, I still have a treasure box of buttons, some of which are almost works of art. Buttons just feel good, and people love looking at them. I even made a bookmark out of a couple of them.

  6. Deb, there was a server update last night that apparently caused problems. I was getting the two-year-old page myself until just, but it seems to have healed itself. Fingers crossed.

  7. Lil, making bookmarks out of buttons is such a great idea!!!

    Late this afternoon I took a quick stab at accessing JRW again but still could not do it. Maybe by Monday. The important thing is that I can still connect with JRW via Kindle! That is currently my main way of connecting with the Internet and it is stll working,thankfully!
    We have had our own share of failed server updates at work this past month!

  8. OH, we're back!!! Hurray! RO, come to Boston..Windsor Button is a place you should go!

    My captcha is Tiazo SIthers, which I am about to use for a character name!

  9. Yes..happily we are back to normal - I hope no one thinks we really moved.
    I have a jacket on which every button is slightly different..I keep thinking I'll do that with some of the orphaned buttons i have..or maybe make a necklace. The bookmark sounds cool!

  10. Ro, I'm with you on the buttons. I have such a collection. I used to make fiberart jackets to put them on. I have also been known to use them on art quilts.

    Deb R., my friend makes jewelry from interesting buttons--necklaces, earrings, bracelets, brooches. I have two brooches and a set of earrings she made. Quite lovely!

  11. Dee-lite-full blog!!! I love Tender Buttons - couldn't dress without them!! Regards, t. straw

  12. I loved collecting buttons. At one time I was making clothes for myself and children. And in the process started saving left over buttons for replacements. Then people started giving me their buttons and before you knew it I had two gallon jugs filled with buttons. Eventually I gave my collection to my seamstress. But would you believe I am still collecting old buttons. Have 2 tin cans filled w/old style buttons.

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