The Crazy Suburban Mom: Jackpot!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I haven't gone estate saling in months. First, I didn't have a car and now my finances are as tight as my jeans were before I started Weight Watchers. I mean, it's like I have to lie down to zip up my wallet. Well, hm. That makes it sound like my wallet is full doesn't it?

And it's really the reverse, but just pretend that made sense so I don't have to redo the metaphor.

I still look for estate sales; I just don't go. I hope that selling some of the things I bought (and can't use) even if I have to sell at a loss will loosen up the old jeans - I mean finances.

But yesterday something miraculous (and buttony) happened.

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But let me back up, Mmmmkay? I've sold a lot of buttons, given some away (still giving some away), have used some and are now using some again for these:


And yes, I was whining (here) about having so many...but
buttons don't take up much room and I am using them.

When I started making the key fobs I realized I'd sold a lot of buttons I'd like to use on them. The short version of this story is I started asking around and someone said, An elderly neighbor gave me a tin of buttons ages ago, probably a few hundred. Do you want them?

I was all over them like a fat woman (that would be me) on a family-sized bowl of pasta at the Olive Garden Restaurant after low-carbing for six months.

And what can I say but.. Holy Button, Button, Who's Got the Button, Batman?

And Batman would say, That would be me.

If Batman were me. And he's not although he's crazy buttony jealous of me because now he has no buttons with which to... um... button his Bat Belt on.

When I took the lid off the tin I was beside myself. As a short aside here - It's funny about button tins. When I go through old magazines from the 40's there isn't much junk around or storage space. As I opened the button tin and stuck my hand in there I noticed lots of stuff besides buttons. Sharp pointy stuff.

Lots and lots of sharp pointy stuff.

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It took me hours of going through it to get the straight pins, nails, curtain thingies, thumb tacks, fish hooks (YES! FISH HOOKS) and other assorted (many rusted) sharp metal objects - that made me thankful that I'd stepped on the other sharp metal object on the lawn this summer and got the tetanus shot - outta there.

What was my point?

Oh, yes. I think buttons tins were the 'junk drawers' of their time.

I have this...


She had this...

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But back to the jackpot business...

Once I got all the sharp stuff out I realized all this stuff about her life was in there besides the buttons.

She played a lot of Bingo...

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She was sentimental...

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Look at the bit of fabric, stones and shells she kept.
Maybe from an important dress or a vacation
or her honeymoon a very, very, long time ago.

She kept bits and bobs of things...

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This pen nib, jewelry clasps... parts of parts.
I don't know if they were memories or she was just frugal.
But they are all so fascinating; these tiny pieces of her life.

And some stuff? A bit TMI...

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That was either used to hold sanitary napkins in place
before they just stuck to your underwear or was a garter for stockings. Or both.
I'm not so sure anymore. So yeah. A somewhat disturbing thing to
stick your hand in a tin and pull out. At least it was to me.

I haven't gone through all the buttons but, wow.

They go from quite spectacular...


To things I've never seen before...

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To what she probably cut off every garment
she ever owned before she discarded it...


I'm a bit floored really.


Lin 1/6/10, 8:27 AM  

My mom has a button tin and she too has very pointy/hurty things in there. What is with that??! Lovely buttons, though. I am jealous of your collection, you lucky dog.

WackyMummy 1/6/10, 9:24 AM  

Wow. I've never read so much about buttons before. And I probably never will again. Great post. I love the idea of using buttons for keychains (or key fobs, as you called them)... fabulous idea!

Thanks for visiting my blog, too! =)

The Crazy Suburban Mom 1/6/10, 9:40 AM  

Lin, I couldn't believe it when I opened the tin. For real - I was flabbergasted. Makes me think there must be lots of tins laying around - just laying around. Unloved. And how do I get them here to love?

Wackymummy, LOL... You might again! LOL, there are lots of people who have a thing for buttons. You've just never run into one until today!

Vonlipi 1/6/10, 9:53 AM  

Thank god for tetanus shots! But seriously, you're scaring me...I don't want to turn on the tv and see you on Hoarders...NJ's own crazy button lady....I have too much imagination!lol

The Crazy Suburban Mom 1/6/10, 9:57 AM  

Vonlipi, Ha! Like I'd ever have enough buttons to fill this house. I WISH...

The Recycle-ista 1/6/10, 10:04 AM

Haven't had a good button tin in awhile. Been trying to control myself. But if one just fell in my lap....

mama-face 1/6/10, 10:12 AM  

Looks like you had another soul sister from the past. So the red disks are from Bingo? I was wonderin' about those. And that other 'thing'? Opening up treasures from the past can be dangerous. To your pysche.

Happy button foraging.

The Crazy Suburban Mom 1/6/10, 10:24 AM  

Reycle-ista - Yeah, it fell into my lap! I can't even believe it! The last button find I found was found like 3 seconds too late and was actually found by this guy who I wanted very much to slap the smug look right off of.

Mama-face - I edited the post to tell what the thing is...

Lidian 1/6/10, 10:34 AM  

What a fantastic jackpot! Yay!

heidi 1/6/10, 11:35 AM  

jackpot, indeed! i love the stories these things could tell...dig it!

Alyssa 1/6/10, 12:37 PM  

That is better than playing the slot machine...We love buttons around here they can keep my daughter busy for hours. Maybe not the same inspirational reason you like them but it least I think it does.

Lynette 1/6/10, 12:53 PM  

I miss our button tin. I use to get it and sit in our hallway to play tiddly winks. UT OH did I just disclose my age?

Katherine (a.k.a. Katie) Corrigan 1/6/10, 12:57 PM  

My Mother has far surpassed the button tin and instead has two large totes ( I don't mean hand held totes, I mean storage totes!) She collects buttons. All kinds of buttons, she has some amazing ones! She sells vintage jewelry and accessories, but she is a collector of buttons too. I always enjoy stopping by your blog. Hugs!

The Crazy Suburban Mom 1/6/10, 1:20 PM  

Lidian - I can't believe it!

Heidi, me too :)

Alyssa, For sure!

Lynette, LOL...

Katherine - If she ever wants to lighten those totes....

Allison 1/6/10, 2:10 PM  

Wow, the stories those buttons and other gadgets could tell. Amazing.

Katherine 1/6/10, 2:35 PM  

I was in HEAVEN looking at all your pictures!!! I could sit for hours looking through big button tins. Not that I have the time, but I could at least try. Those are so beautiful.

BUT... I have to ask... the picture of YOUR drawer... what IS that rubbery thing on the bottom right ??? LOL!

The Crazy Suburban Mom 1/6/10, 2:40 PM  

Katherine - You couldn't believe how surprised I was when I opened the lid to that tin! Bottom right? Hmmm...the orange thing is a candle. Why its in the drawer? Who knows... The green and red thing is actually a rubber or silicone brush thing that you can baste with. The green part are the bristles...and its heat proof so its good for dipping in, like dripping from a turkey to baste. And its so easy to clean as opposed to one with actual bristles

Sharkbytes 1/6/10, 5:33 PM  

I LOVE buttons. But at least you are doing something with yours. I just like to have them. Those pink clip thingies were also for holding up your stockings on a garter belt. But thanks for the horrible memory. I was so glad when a friend told me in secret that it was OK for girls to use tampons. I got away with it for months before my mother caught me, and then I told her I wasn't changing back, no way, end of story.

Sue 1/6/10, 6:10 PM  

That's awesome. You really got lucky with this collection. Interesting to think what the woman's life was like.

It kind of reminds me of my Grandmother. She had a huge collection of buttons. And my sisters and I would always play with them when we went to visit her.

Postcardy 1/6/10, 7:31 PM  

Your buttons are much more interesting than mine. My button tin has mostly white buttons I cut off worn-out clothes. I put my odd metal things in a vintage cookie jar that I don't use for cookies.

Manang Kim 1/6/10, 7:46 PM  

Wow that is a plenty...and very vintage. Thanks for sharing!

VTT:Old door

Life Goes On 1/6/10, 8:03 PM  

The buttons are great but your posting is so funny. Love it. Will be back.

LV 1/6/10, 8:07 PM  

You hear of poeple hiting the jackpot, well, you certainly did with all this. I never saw so much in one can. That's a lot of buttons.

CC 1/6/10, 9:22 PM  

I love,love,love the buttons. Did I say I loved the buttons. I am a serious button nut..not that I would ever use them for anything much,I couldn't stand to part with them. They're just so pretty and you're actually making pretty things with them. I'm glad those buttons have a good home with you.. Happy VTT, hope your weekend is a lovely one. Happy button searching..

one gal's trash 1/6/10, 9:31 PM  

That is what I call a BONANZA! Love your description of the "sharp pointy stuff". What a way to start off the new year!

marian 1/6/10, 9:46 PM  

what a fabulous and fun post!!

WOW you certainly hit the jackpot with all that buttony goodness..LUCKY YOU!!!!!..what a fab idea of using them in your key fobs..ssoo cleva!!

Tricia 1/6/10, 10:06 PM  

I'm drooling all those beautiful buttons!

~~Carol~~ 1/6/10, 10:40 PM  

This whole post cracked me up! You are absolutely right. There is always sharp stuff in button tins, and ALWAYS some garters in there! Gosh, what a great find. Looks like hours of fun just sifting through them, verrrry carefully!
Happy VTT!

Maureen 1/6/10, 10:53 PM  

I remember my mom having a button tin and thinking (but not saying) why are you keeping all of these buttons? Some with thread and pinches of fabric when they were removed from clothing. It seemed every home had them. Ohhhh.....what I wouldn't do to have them now.

blueviolet 1/6/10, 11:28 PM  

That is a treasure to behold! I'm jealous!

Happy Cottage Quilter 1/6/10, 11:31 PM  

Wow what an amazing button collection. It is so fun to dig through and wonder what garment they were sewn on. Happy VTT!


Roslyn 1/7/10, 2:05 AM  

It's off a garter belt, ask me how I know! I am THAT old,LOL!
That's quite the treasure trove.

Ulla 1/7/10, 2:46 AM  

The buttons are great. Too bad there was so much dangerous junk, too. Button tins ought to be safe to put your hands in and play! My favourite is the yellow and brown button in the middle of the tin.

Jen 1/7/10, 5:31 AM  

Ooooooh I love buttons! (I've got a fetish). Except for maybe the garter piece, that looks like an absolute treasure trove of fun :o)

Erika 1/7/10, 6:29 AM  

Love the buttons! I don't have a collection like that but I do like having lots of different and fun kinds or projects.

Thanks for sharing.

Keetha Broyles 1/7/10, 7:38 AM  

So reminds me of my mother's button box. My sister and I used to have HOURS of fun playing with them.

Maria 1/7/10, 8:08 AM  

My my that was quite a collection of buttons, the yingyang-stylish one were nice.

Jingle 1/7/10, 9:10 AM  

Okay, I have to wipe the drool off my keyboard now! Color me green because I am jealous! That is amazing! I love how you took the time to learn about the woman, too. So neat!

teresa 1/7/10, 9:28 AM  

Wow, what fun! I have my mother inlaw's button can which I think was her mother's. Lots of great stuff there too.

Vonlipi 1/7/10, 9:35 AM  

I though you have written another post on buttons! I said to myself: That's it call 911 she has gone to the deep end....Next stop the looney bin! lol

Anonymous,  1/7/10, 10:48 AM  

garter belt

Ruby 1/7/10, 11:03 AM  

Great post! I love buttons and a bit of history is just icing on the cake!!

Jane 1/7/10, 4:39 PM  

I have an old button tin that one of my mom's old friends gave her (my mom at 80 yrs. old still does a lot of sewing). My mom has enough buttons to sink a ship so she gave the tin to me. I totally agree that a button tin was like a junk drawer because I found a lot of crazy stuff in that button tin too. I really enjoyed reading your post.

Coloradolady 1/7/10, 5:00 PM  

great buttons from a friend, I love looking in old button boxes. These are wonderful, and you found almost as much "junk" thrown in the mix. Cute post. Happy Vintage Thingie Thursday!

Miri 1/7/10, 6:11 PM  

Great post! I think that you've hit the nail on the head-button tins were junk drawers for tiny junk!

Love the stocking garter-can't believe she saved it-she must have cut it off the girdle because it looks awfully worn.

Pat & Ron Harris 1/7/10, 8:12 PM  

What fun! Both the buttons and the blog entry! It brought several smiles to my face. lol. Loved it.

Thank you for visiting junkblossoms. I hope you'll be back soon.

Serendipity Handmade 1/7/10, 9:29 PM  

You KNOW I love buttons Tracy! Especially the super shiny ones.... I am jealous!!!

@eloh 1/8/10, 2:10 AM  

I just want to stick my finger in and swoosh it around... now that you have all the pokey things out.

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