My mother’s collection of vintage buttons, retreived from the trash, and sorted by my son just I spent happy hours sorting by color, by favorite, by least favorite. The buttons smell the same.

The glass buttons, the mother of pearl, the metal buttons, the buttons with rhinestone inlays, those were all my favorites. Those were always sorted first. They were so easy to see among the blacks and browns.


When Jared and I were in our mid-twenties, we went to Hungary and then Poland. We spent about 3 months away. In Poland, we visited a cultural museum filled with glorious folk costumes, pottery, leatherwork, metalwork, paper cut outs (wycinanki), carved wooden objects, and nativities.

These were the works of my people! I heard no “stupid” jokes about my heritage, no jokes about Polish people and light bulbs! Instead, I found beautiful handcrafts. Things much lovelier than light bulbs.

The women’s vests were lovely, some covered in buttons sewn in perfect lines, lines buttons edging the trim. I have since wanted to take those vintage buttons and make my own vest.


Here, my son has created a row of shields. I did not make the buttons into shields when I was young.