Some girls paint seashells. Some weave baskets. Me? I make things out of buttons!
People often ask me how I found my craft calling. I tell them it was serendipity. About a year ago, my neighbor Darla dropped by and suggested I come over for her weekly women’s craft club. I was in a pickle, struggling to reclaim my identity and self-worth on the heels of my 34-year marriage to Duane hitting the skids. What a gift to experience such sisterhood! Darla knits Irish sweaters, Lisa’s an embroidery expert—and nobody this side of Walnut Street can hold a hot glue gun to Jan. But me? Gimme a good button bucket, and I’ll knock your socks off.
Button art has been a real balm for my broken heart. I gather my materials from threadbare Oxford shirts, moth-eaten cardigans, and any number of other secondhand wares. They’re mainly castoffs. In this way do I identify with my materials. In fact, I guess in some ways I’m a bit of a button myself. I’m the oxidized brass button with an embossed heart that Duane used to wear on his sleeve, and now I’ve been snipped off for a more youthful button with a shiny surface and smooth holes. Sometimes I cry when I work with my buttons.
It’s such a treat to get together with the gals and pool our creative energies! The inspiration flows like the Barefoot Chardonnay, and time flies when making jingle-jangle necklaces, festive Christmas ornaments, and now with Easter approaching – button crosses! The girls love my button ingenuity. Next month we’re working on sex pillows with button eyes, belly button, and a little button pee-pee! Good god Duane please come back.
The kids are excited about Mom’s new passion—Luke remembered to call last month and thought it sounded, “Great, Mom” while Katie seemed very interested, noting, “Jeez, Mom, you’re spending your retirement on buttons.” Here’s hoping they are still excited when they get their birthday button bouquets in the mail! Sure, they’re no trip to Hawaii like Duane sprung for, but they’re made with love which is sure more than I can say about the upcoming libido-driven luau on the shores of Honolulu. The pictures show that Tammy had a C-section, which I know means she’s a quitter. He’ll be back.
Sometimes I reflect on the irony that at a time when I’m trying to just hold things together I would place my laser-focus on using an item traditionally known for that very purpose.
Buttons are excellent kissers.
While I do enjoy the thrill of giving button crafts, the real joy comes in the camaraderie. These women listen, advise, and bring yummy treats. I just hope they don’t find a new interest anytime soon or ever. But if they do move on to a book club or a running club, I’ll still be here, in my master bathtub, luxuriating in the smooth decadence of literally thousands of buttons.
Take that, Duane!