My grandparents knew how to collect stuff. I wouldn’t call them hoarders, because they often sorted through their collections and let things go, whether it be to rummage sales, church fairs, or other family members. But even with this periodic culling, their house was (and is) full of stuff. So much stuff.
The house is being sold now, and my parents, aunts, and uncle have been slowly but surely making a dent in all that is left. I dropped by to help out one day last month, and while I don’t know how much actual help I was, I had a nice time hanging out with my mother and my aunt, and I brought home a few bags of treasures.
Or, maybe I should say, “treasures” (in quotes), because not everyone I live with is happy to see me carting in bags and bags of stuff…
I tried to only take things that I knew I could use. After all, it’s a constant struggle for me to keep from drowning in clutter as it is (it’s gotta be in the genes…) and I know that I have to avoid bringing in more than I can realistically handle. No matter where it came from, or whose it used to be.
Recently my kitchen, in particular, has been a beneficiary of all of this. My burgeoning collection of vintage tablecloths has doubled. I’ve acquired a lovely blue glass pitcher to set out on the table next to the snack bowl. I picked up a barely-used pizza stone (mine is very much used) and a couple of cookbooks. I now have my favorite kind of cake decorating tool (I used to use a similiar one when I lived at home, and I’ve coveted it from my mother’s kitchen every time I’ve tried to write “happy birthday” on a cake since) and a nice supply of extra birthday cake candles.
With all of these things, I have brought home the box or bag they were in, carefully sorted through the pieces that I wanted and put the rest aside to donate to charity. And I’ve been inspired to get rid of a couple of my own old things in the process.
So, yes, the kitchen is under control. But the craft supplies? That’s going to take a while.
Granny had a stash of old acrylic yarn, and pieces of this stash keep turning up in different rooms of her house, along with more in-progress granny squares (although not in any quantity like the first amazing batch). There are knitting needles and crochet hooks like you would not believe. Spools of thread, embroidery hoops. And buttons. Oh! the buttons. And many of these things have been saved for me and deposited in my eager hands whenever I turn up back home.
These particular buttons were housed in two metal containers with drawers. I wanted the buttons, but really didn’t care for the containers. So, at the risk of destroying my grandmother’s practical button organization scheme, I dumped the whole lot of them into a big glass jar.
Or, I should say, I tried to dump the lot of them into a big glass jar, but my biggest jar wasn’t big enough. So I put the overflow in my second-biggest glass jar. And more overflow in my third.
Now, really, I know I should sort through these and get rid of anything I am not going to use. And let’s be realistic, I could not in a million years use all of these buttons. But I kind of like the way they look in the jars like this, and I feel like they’d make a nice decorative element somewhere near my crafty books or supplies. (Not everyone I live with would agree – see above re:”treasures.”)
So I’m keeping them for now. But someday, I am going to let a good portion of them go. I am pretty sure, knowing myself as I do, that I am not likely to use the small buttons much. I’m more likely to use big ones as decorative elements, or medium-sized ones on sweaters. But I want to live with them for a little while before I completely discount having a supply of little buttons on hand.
These are my favorites. I can really see myself designing a cardigan around these this fall. Or, at the very least, combing Ravelry for someone else‘s design to make for these buttons.
I love having things around my house that have some history to them, as long as there is a good balance between new and old. I don’t want to live in an antique shop! In fact would love to live somewhere brand new, provided they let me toss a granny square blanket over the back of the couch, and put a few special old books on the coffee table.