Thursday, June 3, 2010

What I did during my summer cold

Professionally, My dad was an auto mechanic. As a hobby, he tinkered. He liked to weld, re-engineer, and generally make do with what he had on hand to solve a problem. (For example, in his later years, he bent leftover metal siding to make a remote control holder which he attached with hose clamps to his torchiere lamp.) What he had on hand was a lot of doo-dads, widgets, and hoozywhatsits, all mostly metal. Some in metric sizes. All this assortment of little things needed organization, and I'm not talking baby food jars screwed to a board. Oh no, Dad's accumulation of bolts, washers, and nails far surpassed that meager means. With access to empty cans of chemicals needed to keep cars running, he fashioned himself an tinkerer's chest of drawers.

Gas can drawers

Gas can drawers closeup

We inherited the entirety of his collection. We didn't really sort through everything before moving it out of his garage and into ours because we needed to sell his house before it aged another fifty years. But I think his desire to make his collection useful to him rubbed off on me recently. I sorted my button stash.

Uh, yeah, that's right. I sorted the button stash. Two large jars and three small ones. I think lots of times jars of mixed buttons are kept around as home dec curiosities, but I have dipped into my stash often enough to feel how much time I have wasted looking for just the right color...or something remotely close enough.  So, when I came down with a cold last week, I finally spilled the buttons into an old stew pot and set to work sorting them. It doesn't take much physical effort or mental acuity. Just time.

And because I didn't want to re-use the huge jars--what would be the point of sorting the buttons just to throw them all together again--I made use of a collection I inherited from my mom:  smaller wire-bail canning jars.

Red Button Jar
The red buttons in a half-pint jar.

Blue Button Jar
The blue buttons in a green glass jar.

Button Stash
The stash.

Useless Generalized Statistics:
I have buttons made of bone and mother of pearl, early forms of plastic, porcelain, glass and wood. I have buttons on cards from defunk manufacturers and with price stickers from stores long since closed. I have tiny buttons one would expect to see on a bride's gown and giant buttons no self-respecting button hole would encompass. Lots of black buttons, even more white/cream buttons that I sub-divided into ones with two holes or four. The colors with the least amount of buttons are orange and purple.

So now I have a working stash of buttons. Me, the one who doesn't get along with button holes (see previous post). But as you can see in that previous post, I don't need no stinking buttonholes to use the buttons I have.

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  1. love all the metal---also love the act of button sorting. glad you found a calming way to go through your cold. i wore a hole in the recliner, wrapped in my quilt watching Nazi documentaries and got super depressed. haha!

  2. I love these jars and the buttons. What a great way to store them. I would like to invite you to link to We're Organized Wednesday this wednesday if you get the chance. THere's a giveaway also.

  3. Love all the buttons. I bet you found some wonderful treasures. Thanks for linking to We're Organized Wednesday.



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