Friday, April 18, 2008

Grandma's Buttons

I’ve been searching for some new ideas to add to my scrapbooking pages lately and have been looking into things like buttons and charms. This is far from a new concept, but everyone knows I’m always running behind on such things. I’ve bought a few packets of miscellaneous buttons from the craft stores and such – pretty buttons, but lacking in distinctiveness.

I got to thinking about my Grandma’s sewing box the other day, and thought I’d take a look in there. I got her sewing stuff when she passed away a few years ago – I’m not a sewer past rudimentary repairs and patching, but I’m happy to have it and add it to my own meager supplies. Everyone needs a sewing box.

She’d kept a collection of buttons in an old medium-sized margarine tub in her basket. I’d looked through them before but not with any great intent. I got them out again last night and began to sort them. Many were average, unremarkable, run of the mill buttons. Others were gaudy and dated, perhaps once on a coat. A few even looked suspiciously like couch cushion buttons. But some were very pretty. Mother of pearl, bright plastics, tortoiseshell, etc. I set the pretty ones aside to put with my craft things.

As I played with the buttons, I caught a scent – hard to describe but that is unmistakable. Part dust, part facial powder, part faint old lady soap, part a few other things that nothing else smells like but that of items collected over long stretches of time. The smell of years. The smell of my Grandma.

I held the margarine container up to my face and breathed deep. And missed her more than I had in a while.

9 comments:

McSwain said...

Awwww... you made me miss my grandma, too. She had a big tin of buttons in the dresser in her guest room. When I was a kid, I used to play with them. I remember the smell like it was yesterday.

Sunny said...

I have a large metal box full of old buttons from my Darling Man's grandmother. I love them too. His grandmother was an interesting lady who lived life full on throttle.

She spent a number of years running a whiskey joint in New Mexico for a time before moving to Texas. She ran a hotel/bar in Galveston for a number of years. Along the way she wound up married five times.

Too, she seemed to have never thrown anything away. She left us a virtual time capsule of items when she passed.

bigwhitehat said...

The smell of Ciara perfume makes everybody go looking for my mother.

I liked this.

I'm back online again.

Email me. I'd like to catch up and I want to share some stuff from my pre reunion parties with you.

Inspiration Alley said...

I've got a big tin of buttons that I inherited too and the scents that come from it always evoke memories. Strange how the perfume lingers, often used to think I just imagined it.

coffeypot said...

It's not the big things that make us miss our lost love ones, but the small simple things. Who would think that a few buttons and the smell of dust could provoke such strong emotions?

jgf said...

We used to go through my mom's buttons over and over again. She kept hers in old glass baby food jars.

martie said...

Love this post, dear Clew! You are so creative and sentimental.........have I said how much I love you recently? I didn't think so...........love you my dear! Hugs

joy said...

This post made me think of an old quilt that was made for my grandmother. I inherited this quilt when my grandmom died four years ago. At the time I would hold up the quilt to my face and breath in the scent of my grandmother. It's been four years, but I swear, her scent still lingers on this old quilt. Hmm....you gave me an idea for a blog post! :)

Lori said...

Ah...I remember the button box. Mother had one in a round tin and whenever she'd need a button for something she say, "Go get my button box." Growing up, we just took those things for granted. But remembering it today through your post makes me long for the innocence and loveliness of yesteryear.