Growing up we had a red plastic cigar container that held buttons. Those buttons were memories of clothing worn and made. They provided hours of fun sorting and sharing stories of their origin. Many families saved buttons from old clothing in case one was needed to repair a clothing item.
Later, I moved out and met Tim. I didn't have my own button container so when we were at an auction I bid on someone else's collection. I thought one of the 4 containers would be enough but the auctioneer put them up as one lot. I was the lucky winner, taking home all four! There were 8126 buttons in all. (Not that I took the time to count them all!)
Since then I have added more from yard sales and other auctions. Old sewing boxes and machine cabinets store all kinds of button surprises. In July 2004 we purchased the store but didn't start the quilt shop until March 2005. During January and February the antique business at the store was slow so I took the time to sort my button collection into colours. Now, whenever someone comes in and asks about buttons, we pull out the jars. After dumping the buttons into a tray, the customer can pick out the perfect ones. Fill a bag for $1.
This fall I made Brenda's 'Everything Goes Bag". She added a D-ring as a decorative element on the pocket but all I could think of adding was buttons. However most of the buttons in my collection are small for such a grand bag. So I had to add more large buttons. Dill makes a line of funky large plastic buttons so we started an inventory of them.
So at your family celebrations this season why not pull out the button jar and share stories for the next generation to take with them.