I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Buttons & Bows

Vintage trims have recently been showing up as a popular category on lists like "Top Ten Collectibles" and "Favorite Flea Market Finds." For someone like me, a long-time aficionada of old ribbons, lace and buttons, this new popularity has its good points and its bad points. On the plus side, it catches the eye of dealers and pickers who might overlook these items---or even [gasp of horror!] discard such treasures. And newly informed, they mark the stuff up and put it out for sale, which is great.                                                                          summer's treasures

On the bad side, it creates a lot more competition for these musty faded but still oh so charming gems.
more goodies from the Sunday flea martket!

I first fell in love with buttons as a tiny child playing with my mother's button box. This predates parental neurosis about choking, obviously! My favorite buttons were many: tiny china hearts from a Swiss dirndl! Little brown velvet squares from my mother's tweed suit, golden eagles [I imagined] buttons from daddy's Air force uniforms, rhinestones from a silk shirt that once sported hand painted flamingoes.

work in progress: "choosing the trims"

When I was a little older, I took a fancy to ribbons too. Again, my mother was the source. She had a few special silk velvet ribbons, once used as sashes, rolled in her dresser drawer, tucked in with some antique, handmade French lace edging and Tyrolean braid that must have gone with that dirndl. Years later we made white cotton aprons trimmed in that braid, wore them to make our cookies each Christmas---in fact, I still have mine and wear it with love, remembering good times, long ago.

But the French ribbons!

I grew my hair very long about that time and wore it in a waist-length braid; I collected 1/2 yard cuts of gorgeous ribbons to tie on the braid's end, no scrunchies for me. Of course the braid went quickly once I moved to NYC. Somewhere though I still have the tiny tin with the rolled ribbons, tucked away with my memories. And I still collect ribbons and lace and buttons for my art and crafts designs, especially for my dolls and angels and my ever-popular stuffed potpourri hearts.
newest hearts-cinnamon & lavender

This is the link for Country Homes archived story about collecting trimmings:

and a brief excerpt....

Top 10 Collectibles for 2008



Notions include all kinds of vintage sewing supplies, including buttons, beads, trim, lace, and ribbon.


For just a few dollars you can get a card of buttons or a yard of trim.


And the current issue of Victoria Magazine [Dec 09] has a delightful artlicle called Wrapped in Whimsy. The featured shop has a ribbon-lover's dream-come-true selection of gorgeous ribbons in stock. Check it out.

From the website: Enter a fanciful world of adornment at Nicholas Kniel Embellishments for You and Your Home. This quaint Atlanta boutique and studio specializes in ...offering more than four thousand rolls of almost every type of ribbon imaginable—from grosgrains, picots, and organdies to taffetas, jacquards, and silks—the shop also features an eclectic mix of buttons, feathers, masks, and millinery.  For more information on Nicholas Kniel and his boutique, visit nicholaskniel.com.

You'll be charmed...and inspired!

Happy holiday season!