a p p a r e n t l y


Button, Button

In the center of each of my pincushions is a lovely little button. I’ve been working my way through my grandmother’s stash of vintage and mother of pearl specimens, but I needed to expand my button options. The usual venues, Etsy and eBay, weren’t providing much in the way of interesting lots. One eBay listing I coveted, a pound of buttons from a now-closed Italian button factory, ended when I wasn’t looking. So I was both delighted and dismayed to discover that they had been relisted…but also expanded to five pounds. FIVE. Who needs five pounds of buttons?

Apparently, I do. Reader, I purchased them.

Would you like to see what five pounds of Italian buttons looks like?

five pounds of Italian buttons

I should mention at this point that I love to sort things. I find making order out of chaos very pleasing. And the first thing I did when the buttons arrived was to dump them all out onto the living room rug and begin to sort.

When I had several piles, divided loosely by material, color and appeal, each with myriad subsets based on the actual designs, I realized that I had no way to store the buttons while keeping them sorted. So I sifted the three main piles into zip-top bags and stashed them all away for a few days, during which time I pondered what to do with the buttons. Sell them off? By the pound or in small lots by type? There are some lovely buttons in there that I will never use. Others I will absolutely use, and yet others I may or may not use but I like them enough to keep them around.

Last Friday, Apparently Jr and I sorted the buttons again. I was fascinated to watch him choose those buttons he liked best and search for matches within the giant pile. All the buttons were laid out on a tablecloth on the kitchen table, and at one point we nearly pulled the entire operation onto the floor, but we caught the tablecloth just in time. His delight with this project increased with each match, and then he reached his button-sorting limit. (I’d found a few more little plastic bags in the interim, so our work was not for naught.)

On Tuesday I sat down with some ring blanks and E-6000 adhesive to experiment with the “craft” pile. The results:

button rings


Here are two pincushions I’d made that were too small for dishes. Voila! Pincushion rings:

liberty pincushion ring

blossom ring pincushion

Now, what should I do with the remaining 4.75 pounds?

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One Response to “Button, Button”

  1. March 17th, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Sarah (becoming gezellig) says:

    LOVE those rings–so clever!

    My kid really digs playing with buttons too! And oh, I love to sort them…