As human beings we tend to hold onto memories of our past and our loved ones through physical trinkets. Whether it be the antique furniture that my husband's dad collected that doesn't belong in our house as it's slowly all getting scratched and scuffed in an atrocious manner but to my husband it's a connection to his dad. Or the closet of my husband's grandpa's clothes that is still completely intact in the corner of my son's bedroom. Or for me tons of tiny little tchotchkes from my childhood that I can't let go of. It's a lot easier for me to look back and remember the bad things from my youth but all my little trinkets make me smile and feel like there were good times too. I know that people struggle with letting go of these useless things that connect them to their past, geesh there are entire television shows surrounding this issue. I'm not saying that you should keep the stuff or shouldn't just that the connection exists.
I'm at a point in life where I'd rather simplify and just get rid of every single thing we own that we don't use than hold onto all the memories in physical form. I can picture a lovely home in my head free from clutter and excess and although it would have a few things in it that are purely sentimental it wouldn't have random useless nonsense that was owned by someone sometime that's no longer with us.
So, I inherited my grandmother's sewing table (actually I took it while everyone else was going through more important things... no one else seemed interested in it). My grandmother was a very proper English woman who was fabulous at gardening and sewing. I remember her most with dirt on her gardening gloves and a pile of sewing projects in her sewing room... My grandmother had a sewing room! I don't know anyone now a days who has an entire sewing room. I admire that about her. Sadly her sewing table has been sitting in my basement for years. I sew with needle and thread but I cannot figure out how to correctly use the sewing machine. I've tried. It hates me. I obviously need a sewing class or something. I've never used one of the hundreds of patters tucked away in the drawers. I have been using some of the wonderful assortment of thread. I've hardly ever used the neat tools that I just like to look at as if they're some sort of grand antiques. More recently I discovered the most fabulous round tin. It rattles with a musical beauty when you shake it as it's filled with buttons. I can't imagine I'll ever usefully employ the buttons but the tin and it's contents are marvelous.
This Christmas (as I adore Christmas cards and mailing them) I made a plan to use the buttons for our cards. It took a few moments of deciding if I really wanted to send out my Grandmother's buttons (and really only a handful of them when all was said and done) or if I should keep them and cherish them as they were in the tin for always. In truth the majority of them will be thrown in the trash come January. I like to imagine that maybe a few of the crafters I mailed them to will remove them from the card and actually use them for something but I'm not delusional. They will mostly all be discarded. But I went ahead with the plan. I sewed one and in some cases when a snowman was involved two buttons onto each card. I spent around 30 minutes sewing every one. I enjoyed the process much more than I should have as it became much more time consuming then I'd envisioned. I wrote a note to each recipient. I stuffed the envelopes, addressed them, and each button began a journey to some corner of the world it'd never seen before. I wrote a little note on the back of each card, "this card brought to you by Grandmother Sylvia's button tin."
Maybe I'm slightly delusional but rather than sitting in my basement for all time and maybe getting a good shake once or so a year these handful of buttons have taken in my eyes a beautifully poetic last journey; one of spreading holiday cheer. My Grandmother's buttons have traveled all over the United States this Christmas, to Hawaii even, and the UK and Sweden. I didn't send a photo with my cards this year. I only spent 20 cents on each of them. Some of them were, um, the first few I made were kind of scrappy. But I loved our cards this year.