May your button jar always have room

by Rheasq

I’m trying to be a better citizen. Not talking about voting, or donating or being good to my neighbors, although those are always in play. No, I’m trying to be a better household citizen. I’m a bit of a packrat. As far as that goes, I was married to one, and so we both squirreled away (to continue the rodent metaphor) cool stuff to be used “some day”. Wire ties, pieces of wood, jars. Eventually, they all do get put to good use, but in the meantime, I’ve been moving them from place to place, box to box, cupboard to cupboard. It’s time to do a little clearing.

The spark was my decision to try to live more fully into my creative genes. I accepted a local artists challenge to produce art, the only parameter being it had to fit 3′ by 3′. I even went and bought new paint and brushes, but then the anxiety set in. Days passed.

After a while, one of my favorite sayings “Do One Thing Every Day that Scares You” reared it’s ugly head. So, time to unpackage the canvases (I’m using multiple 4″ x 4″ canvas) and prep a work area. But out of nowhere, came the thought, “you have paint, you have brushes, where are they?” Perhaps a procrastination technique to get me out of painting. But it put energy into my process and I started going through boxes, finding a bonanza of supplies from various periods of times past.

Now it might be thought to be triggering to go through all these boxes of history and lives lived. It was. Found were the boxes of art supplies, woodworking, miniatures, and jewelry making to name some. What a treasure trove! Gee, it seems I’ve been at this creative thing for a very long time! I began jonesing on all the ways these boxes of goodies could be used in my new repurposing life.

Then I started going through the sewing stuff. I’ve sewn since I was child, taught by my gifted Mom. Equally due to being poor and having a unique sense of style, for years I made a lot of my clothes. There was the pins and needles, the tailoring hams, the chalk and hooks and eyes and zippers. The most delightful trigger came from finding my button jar. If you sew, you have a button jar. It’s a requirement. I also foundd piles and piles of all those “extra buttons” usually tacked into new clothes. Most of them were still in the little dime bag zip locks and needed liberation.

So, I sat in the floor and starting cutting them open and adding them to the jar. This is kind of a Zen process, requiring no active thought. It allowed me to think of my Mom’s button jar, the one I grew up with; there were some lovely memories there of my playing with the buttons, sorting through them because of need, and of the little girl I baby sat who adored my Mom’s button jar.

I started babysitting when I was about 13. I had a real knack for it, did some great things with the kids I sat for. But the first one was Candace. When her family moved in next door, she wasn’t much more than a toddler. Cute as a button, bright red strawberry blond hair. She was a doll, though a spoiled one. Despite having every toy under sun, what she really asked to play with was my Mom’s button jar. When she was at our house, she would bee line for it, but knew to ask permission first. For some reason, she always called my Mom by her first name, but my Dad was always Mr. Spicer. It was just so cool to watch her shake the jar and look at all the myriad of buttons, all shapes, sizes, colors and materials.

My button jar is not as big as Mom’s. But its contents are just as interesting. As I liberated each button, it was a memory train of suits I’d owned and outfits I’d loved. Some were really unusual, interesting, cute, unique. One by one they added to the pastiche in the jar.

Such beautiful, happy reminisces. Golden with retrospect. How blessed I have been, how blessed I am now to be a packrat, a creator, to have access to both and all, to connect that to today. To my lovely blessed friends and family, I think of you and wish your button jar to always have room for one more.

Happy Thanksgiving!