Monthly Archives: February 2009

Button, Button




My sister, “Pansy” as we’ve always called her, and I played buttons on the floor of my sewing room the other day.  So tired of the cold, and the snow, and the gray outside…we needed a little color in our lives! We sorted jars and boxes full of the the good the bad and the ugly!  The very good Czechoslovakian glass and American bakelite, the very bad rusted or broken shank, and the very ugly plastic grey coat buttons that to me  resemble brain matter!

Button sorting is something we have done many times as  children…obligatory in our family with five sisters! Our Grandmother was a serious button collector and seamstress. She crafted several button bracelets with some of her most cherished.  Once in a while she’d bring us a shoebox full of  buttons and beads and broken clip-on earrings, and Pansy and I were occupied for hours panning for gold! My mother kept Grandma’s bracelets in a velvet lined case; and collected her own (usually thrifted)  tins and jars full as well. She would often play “Button, button, who’s got the button?” with the girls and the boys at times where we kids were housebound due to measles, mumps, or just having a good old group malaise. With that many children she always had plenty of buttons in the mending basket! Until her death from Parkinson’s Disease in 2007 we grown women would go visit mom on a snow day or a blue day, and she would set out a bountiful biscuit tin on the kitchen table for us to sort, and sift, and sort again. Hands shaking or not she was going to go through her beloved buttons! What fun we had, and what good advice we got from our faith-filled mother. The case of button bracelets now hangs on a wall in my home, just where the family wants it.

Every now and then, but less often than before, I find a little bag or canning  jar full of old buttons at a church sale or a thrift shop. A sad pang gives way to a happy smile…Look Mom, who’s got the button!


Good for You!





Well, of course I want to brag on my own daughter-in-law and her successful baby and childrens boutique wear shop.  When Adrienne first met  my son, Damian,  I taught her to crochet, she learned that craft in what I have come to discover is the customary 15 minutes or less.  She has obviously taken the humble art out of the chairside basket and into a brilliant online forum.  Her shop found at is attracting not only savvy shoppers at that popular creativity think tank, but also print magazine and online design blog spots including: Cookie Magazine and Vintage Indie.

Recently, gifted photographer Brooke Daniels of has been providing  some ever-so enchanting photographs of her wee models in the studio hats she ordered from Adrienne’s shop, and that makes the  shop layout one of the most cute and clever on Etsy!  Most all of what Adrienne Kinsella makes is fashioned with beautiful organic cottons that are so soft that  your kids won’t take it off, and you’ll want to show it off!  Keep looking for new items to appear in  the shop…because  I taught her to knit last week  in about 12!


The lovely pile of  German books displayed on my desktop was found in a thrift shop and  is bound for my Etsy shop.  The stack includes ~The Good Earth~ by Pearl S. Buck.  I read the book when I was in High School,  but because I did not pay attention in German Class I cannot read this copy! Mehr ist das schade, but my shoppers will be blessed!  The Good Earth cover is illustrated, and beautiful books have that hypnotic sort of draw when you are out  scavenging through the shelves at the local charity shop! It does make you sorry, though, that some of the most tattered and humbly covered will be overlooked, and there inside may be the  literal jewel!

I just cannot resisist a pretty book, and these are even more pretty. They are one-of-a-kind journals made by my friend artist Shelly Ambrogio of susiea at Each is so unique and so very detailed with bits of vintage lace or buttons, and pieces of  illustration and wallpaper that they truly become your book!  Whether it is a book of poetry about English gardens full of rose bowers, or a journal like these embellished with pictures and ephemera in which to write a poem, I can’t resist!



It is so sweet to find something pink and green and lovely and when you are waiting for primroses and violet leaves to appear!  Snow and rain  here has made even Sew Thrifty shopping trips a bit of a chore. It’s hard to look for little objects in a second hand shop bin wearing gloves and galoshes!

I shouldn’t complain after our recent trip to New York  where if I could have found a thrift shop I would have bought four more coats to put over the first four!  Youse can’t take me noplace!!!