Thursday, October 15, 2015

Button Porn

If you've been following my blog for a while, you might remember that my Mom passed away over seven years ago in 2008.  Since then my Dad has continued to live in Naples, Florida...a place that has grown very dear to us since my parents moved there almost twenty years ago.

That phase of our life is closing as all of the friends that my father had in Naples have either died or moved away.  Rather than live alone, it's time for him to move back home to Baltimore to be with his family and friends here.  So Jim and I just returned from a trip to Florida where we began the process of helping Dad to get his house ready to sell.

Though we did a lot of work while we were there, we found time to have a little fun.  Well, for me...a LOT of fun.

That's because we had read about a flea market early last Saturday morning and decided to wake up to get there when it first opened.  When the alarm clock sounded, Jim moaned and started to beg off the whole venture.  Not me.  I was determined to go.  "Well, I'm going", I said, and I threw back the covers and leapt out of bed.  He groaned again but followed me out...what a love.  My Dad was up and came too.

Poor blokes.  They didn't find much except for newspapers and coffee.

But me?  Well, I never made it past the first stall.

It happened to be run by Silvia, a seventy year old woman whose 1988 four-door sedan had one dusty box of buttons after another.

Honestly, I couldn't believe my luck.  SOOO many beautiful buttons...



 And all for 50 cents to one dollar apiece she said.

Sorry I have no picture of the stall...it was too early and I didn't even think to bring a camera.  If I had known the treasure hoard I was going to encounter, I would have saved my pennies and arrived before dawn with an entire news crew!

Next to Silvia's tables, I was lucky to find these two little brass mirrored boxes for five bucks so I had something to hold my choices.



They cleaned up beautifully when I got home.  And so did the buttons.  I loved washing them in a bowl of soapy water and brushing them with Jack's old baby tooth brush.

There were so many buttons at Silvia's stall that I had no choice but to focus my efforts.  I didn't have a ton of money or time, so I went for my one of my current loves...smokey gray carved mother of pearl...



*sigh*

They were all so lovely that I was inspired to photograph them by families.  I just couldn't resist.   I should have been embroidering the last six goldwork honeysuckle leaves on my Japanese embroidery sake ladle but the buttons were far more seductive.

This group of celluloid and metal against a vintage piece of beaded net just makes me swoon...



And these steels, metals and glass stand up better when paired with an old embroidered shoe fragment...



And oh...the astounding beauty of pearly white, carved mother of pearl...



See.  You wouldn't have done your Japanese embroidery either.

Jim was happy to have a task so he dug through all the pearl buttons to pull this collection together...



They are all over 1.25 inches and I plan to send them to my friend Gerry of Older Rose who paints them with the most lovely birds, bees, flowers and cottages and sells them in her Etsy shop.

She even paints haunted houses on the smokey gray pearls.  Makes me want to do a Halloween block.

And speaking of Halloween...


She had two HUGE wooden boxes of just butterscotch bakelite!  But I just ran out of time...

Probably my greatest pleasure was discovering the quaint charm of buffed celluloid.  

Buffed celluloid is a plastic button popular in the 1930s.  I only own a couple so when I saw them all together in a big wooden box, I couldn't resist purchasing enough of them to make an instant collection...



When Silvia saw the caliber of gems that I had pulled from her hoard, the price per button jumped up a bit.  That was OK with me.  It was still a phenomenal deal.  She says that she had a great day because of me...sometimes she only sells a button here or a button there.  As if on cue, an older gentleman walked up and bought one button to put on his pants.  I told Silvia she should be selling them online but she says she's too old to start all that now.  She didn't even know what Etsy was.  Sorry folks, I tried.

Today I am back to the Japanese embroidery frame. I'll update my progress there next time. Thanks to all of you for stopping by and commenting on my Winter Wonderbird last post. It was the perfect welcome party.   It feels good to be home.

37 comments:

Marilyn said...

My goodness what a find! I would have had to "mortgage the farm" if I had been there. I can't even imagine how hard it would be to choose. And Gerry will love getting more buttons to paint. I haven't seen a Halloween one though - I'll have to go take another look :)

gracie said...

What a wonderful collection! You did have fun!

Louise Doney said...

What an amazing find, I was wondering if you could share the location of this flea market and what days it is open, I will be there in Jan.
I also want to say you are an amazing artist and I just love your CQ squares. loved the little Chickadees.

Vicki W said...

What a great find!

Maureen Flaherty said...

OMG I am sooooo jealous!!! These are so very beautiful, I had to go to a bigger monitor so I could see them better! I sure hope we can get together some time soon so I can fondle them a bit. I love the boxes you found also to put them in.. Buttons and boxes, pretty close to heaven. Thanks for sharing this adventure. I hope the whole moving process isn't too difficult, I am sure the emotional side will be difficult enough. Hope to see you soon.
Maureen in Maryland

Shirlee Fassell said...

Gorgeous!! When least expected you find a gold mine!!

sunny said...

What a treasure hunt! I don't have any buttons that nice, but I do love looking through my collection to find just the right one for a project.

NickiLee said...

WOW! WEEEEE! How exciting to find such a treasure - So excited for you! You certainly have an eye for beauty as they are all so gorgeous! I am so happy to hear that you brought your father home as I know you mentioned before it was going to be a hard time for him to move. Now he is where he belongs, with family.

Gerry Krueger said...

Hooray, Goody and Wowser... I was so happy to see the buttons for me... I am working on haunted house buttons this weekend and using the very last of my smokey buttons... I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rachel said...

No, I don't think I would have been at my embroidery frame either. Positively mouthwatering!

Erica said...
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Erica said...

Susan, I am suffering from button envy! And what a bargain compared to what we would have to pay for such treasure here in NZ.

crazyQstitcher said...

I bet you were pleased you rose early to go to the flea-market.
What a brilliant find. Most of the button styles I've never seen and they are all fabulous. I imagine your chat with the owner would have been interesting too.

All the very best for your dad's move back to family and friends. So good for you to have him nearby.

steelyseamstress said...

What a fantastic find, these buttons are all so beautiful!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What a wonderful collection of buttons you got. WOW! Gerry is going to love her buttons to paint on.

Glad things are going well with your Dad's move back north. Hope his home sells quickly and for a good price for him too.

Happy Fall dear Susan ~ FlowerLady

Cathy said...

OH. My. Those are some of the most exquisite buttons I have ever seen. You have always had such excellent taste in buttons and bling! hugsxxxx

Lady Locust said...

Love those old metal ones, and MOP, wooing my heart.
So now how do you get drool off of the computer:)

margaret said...

so many wonderful buttons here gives a new meaning to the word buttons, I have never seen the like of most of these before they are wonderful and I can already picture what Gerry will do with the pearl ones.

How lovely to have Dad moving home too be near you, I am sure you will have such fun together as you are such a fun loving family

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Hi Suz
How'd I miss that bird post!! I knew you were busy with life stuff or you would be blogging more so I didn't send that email asking if you are OK. It's good to have your dad living closer to you. Years ago I hated it that my in laws moved 2 blocks from us, but now it's a blessing and I cherish the visits from my FIL driving over to see us in his tricked out golf cart. great score on the buttons. Our flea markets are so picked over it's sad. Where have all the great venders gone. Oh, to Florida!!
Have a great day and weekend. Hope to see you around more!
Much love
Carol

deb* said...

What a beautiful treasure trove!

Yankee Dimes said...

Thank you for taking time to blog, it is always a treat!

Judy S. said...

Wow, I'd say you scored, big time. Always glad to see your post, Susan. Take care; it sounds like you're very busy!

traderslostart said...

A gold mine in buttons for sure Susan.
Sounds like Gerry is so happy to get some.
they will be beautiful when she finished working on them.

My Dad had Alzheimers and my Mom was always calling me in NH and crying on the phone.
It took me 3 years to convince her to sell her house and move from Florida and in with me.
It was a blessing to have my parents with me for the last years of their lives. I missed them
being so far away, and my Dad's care was getting to be too much for my Mom to handle.
I could only take one trip to Florida while they lived there. Now I feel good that they were
with me till the end. It was hard but worth it.
Happy that you will be able to have time with your Dad.
God Bless you all.
Sondra

La MaƱosa said...

Wow, I have never seen such beautiful buttons! Can't wait to see them pop up in your lovely creations!

Laurie said...

Oh my gosh -- what a dream! I love your photos and linked to them on my button blog http://buttonfloozies.blogspot.com/2015/10/not-to-be-missed.html
Thanks for all the beauty!

Createology said...

There is something so magical and enchanting about buttons. Silvia has quite the treasure trove and how fortunate that you found her and her amazing buttons. The selections you have made is admrable. Creative Button Bliss...

The Junque Seeker said...

What an amazing score! Thank you for sharing.

wendy said...

How Fun!!! I went to my first antique's fair this summer and loved it!!

kitblu said...

I have boxes of buttons but I would have been right with you shopping for more. What a gorgeous collection you picked. You are a good person to have also picked those plain pearl buttons for someone else.

Curtains in My Tree said...

My mouth is drooling and I am jealous with envy LOL
What a great find
Love Love Love the MOP buttons

Janice

LIZ said...

Beautiful buttons! Your first photo of the collections (on a plaid cloth) is a lovely composition. Will you stitch it? I'd love to see a needlepoint of this.

Linda said...

Button porn, indeed! I swooned right along with you. Some of those celluloid buttons make me think of my grandmother in Arkansas. I don't know if she had those buttons, but I think of her housedresses when I see them. I was born in 1946, so my memories of her are mostly from the '50s. I may swing over to that etsy store that you so generously shared the link for....lol. You enabler, you. Please show us any things you make with them. Some of the buttons remind me of my Aunt Eunice's costume jewelry. She was my dad's sister (still Arkansas)and they were "upper crust" old-school I guess you would say. They lived here in San Diego (my hometown), where he was a Realtor in one of the tonier parts of town. This also in the '50s. Such a great collection of costume jewelry. They didn't have children, and I was their "darling", but, alas, I didn't get the jewelry.....sigh. Jim is a love. Your men are special.

xo Linda

Peg said...
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Peg said...

Fantastic find, thanks for sharing

Annette said...

wow what a find you have there. I bet your heart just pittered pattered for sure. Love seeing each and everyone of them thanks for sharing with us the wonderful pictures xoxoxoxoxo

teacupsandstitches.com said...

I think the button lady will be very busy next week! Jim did a great job helping to sort.

Brenda @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

What a find!! I'm smitten and so very glad you could share these glimpses with us.

Lovely...
Brenda

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