Wednesday, August 15, 2012


 Getting a tin of buttons is always like a treasure hunt to me, and even more so when they arrive in a tin that looks like this one.  As I unpacked it and open up the tin I realized I follow a little ritual every single time.  First I open up the tin and poke through it picking up this button and that button and getting an idea for what is inside.
 Next, I pour them all out into a shallow tray.  The size depends on the amount of buttons and sometimes it is a cookie pan or even a lasagna pan.  Just something shallow where I can comfortably dig and they don't roll away from me.
 I bring out several highball glasses, one for MOP, one for glass and one for the "special" plastics I know I want to add to my collection.  I also get out a colander for what I think of as "ordinary" plastic buttons.  I'm sure special and ordinary mean completely different things to different button lovers!
As I sort I have a seam ripper nearby to remove threads and I pick out the trash, pins, broken buttons and sometimes non-button treasures.  Sorting an authentic button tin can be dirty business, especially one with this may old shoe buttons!  In fact, I don't think I have ever gotten a button box with so many shoe buttons and leather buttons.  You just never know what you will find and it isn't done until you have picked up every.single.thing. and looked at both sides.
 I place two denture tablets in the bottom of each glass.  It works magic on buttons!  I add hot water and let them sit an hour or two then rinse in a wire sieve.  The colander gets set down in a dishpan of soapy water and swished.  I never submerge wood, two-piece metal, leather or tight-tops.  They generally get a wipe with a damp towel or sometimes a damp toothbrush if they are really dirty. 
Once everything is washed and rinsed I let it dry overnight and then start sorting again to match up sets and string them together.  Next post I will show you the "treasures" I found!
Do any of your collections involve rituals?


Barbara said...

I don't know if it's exactly a ritual, but I do like washing a big load of vintage linens, hanging it out on the line and ironing it. If I did it every day I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like it so much, but two or three times a season - sure! Strangely, I do not have the same feeling toward other laundry. Thanks for the denture tab tip - I've tried it for other stuff but not buttons.

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

I LOVE sorting through a new stash of buttons. Looks like you're going to be having loads of fun with these. Thanks for the tip about the denture tablets, great idea. When you said you got out several highball glasses, I thought you were going to pour yourself a few drinks to celebrate your new treasures:-)

My Vintage Mending said...

The denture tip is perfect. I use it on the toilets but buttons...pure genius. I love to see how you do this. Seems far easier than how I do mine. Can't wait to see all you find.

Andy's Attic said...

I like the denture tip, too. I am amazed at your ritual. It is very organized and I am sure developed over time. I don't really collect anything that requires sorting, which in turn requires a "ritual" of organizing.

Laurie said...

Brilliant -- I love your rituals! I have little rituals, too, but yours are more refined. You are my hero.

CATHY said...

what a fun ritual...and a great tip for cleaning with denture wash. I would love to find a treasure chest like this : )