Back in 2012 when I first started to decide to give sewing another go, my Mum gave me something pretty special – the family button tin.
Ever since I was little I adored this tin. Full of interesting buttons of all colours, sizes, shapes, things that weren’t buttons at all. I love the patterns on it and whenever Mum had it out for anything I would tip them all out and look through them – hunting out my favourite ones before putting them all back again. Many years ago Mum had it out after a meal on the dining table and had tipped them all out, we decided that the best way to get them back in the tin was to flick them in like Tiddlywinks. A sublime hilarious chaos ensued as buttons flew everywhere, pinging off the window, the dresser, our faces… The hardest one was an oval wooden bead – its shape meant its flight path was pretty unpredictable. It was the last to end up back in the tin.
These days it is a little worse for wear, the design on the back is wearing away and the hinges aren’t so great, but it’s not doing too bad considering it was made in the 1930s. It was a biscuit tin originally – with CWS Biscuits is embossed on the bottom of it. Back when biscuit tins were a thing of beauty! It had belonged to my Dad’s maternal grandmother, then her daughter and then my Mum. The majority of the buttons in it were from the 1970s, perhaps when the tin actually started to be used for buttons. When I got it, I tipped them all out and sorted through them. I reminisced about my old favourite buttons and did my best to sort through them properly as I had other buttons and wanted to have them organised into colours to make it a bit easier if I wanted to find something. So these days the tin is mainly full of black and brown and the odd blue and green and white buttons with the rest residing in my soap drawer box and other nice little tins.
Maybe the tin will last to be passed down to someone else in the family. I hope so.