Jolly Little Circles of Pure Happiness and Joy

comments: 49

ButtonsmelonSometimes I find it difficult to express certain emotions with only words, letters, and punctuation. My real-life repertoire of expression is so constantly filled with unspellable sounds -- with snorts, blurts, sobs, and weird noises that aren't easy to express a-blog. (It is also probably studded with much more profanity and repeated shout-outs of the word "dude" and lots of throwing of hands around in the air over other people's stupidities while driving [while they're driving -- me, I never take my hands off the wheel while I'm driving, are you kidding me? I drive like your grandma (if she was one of the ones who learned to drive, because neither of mine did). Safety first!] Anyway.) Point is, when I look at my new buttons, the only sound that truly expresses how much I love them is a low-grade happy clucking -- no, like a cooing. A fat, happy turtledove-like cooing hum of contented pleasure, over and over. Can you hear me? That's button-love, baby.

ButtonsblueThe other sound that sort of feels right is Holly Hunter's desperate outburst in Raising Arizona, in the car right after they steal the baby: "I-love-him-so-much!" sob sob sob. That would work, too. Because, seriously. Aren't these just the sweetest little squares of the happiest little circles of pure adorableness you've ever seen? I think these might be my favorite Posie Gets Cozy photos ever. I love the way the colors look together. It's interesting how colors come in and out of fashion, isn't it? What's that all about, anyway. These all seem so sweet and hopeful and . . . eager . . . to me. So cheerful and pleasing, and it has a lot to do with their colors. I am so loving that peachy-pink and turquoise blue. And the pale pinks.

Buttonslavender My button mentor Shelly and I went out to the Oregon State Button Society pre-show-sale the other night in Salem, and I happily played in the poke boxes again. I think I'm obsessed with the little plastic ones from the 60s. I mean, I felt myself getting absolutely covetous and, if it's possible to be utterly materialistic about cheap plastic buttons, then I am that shallow. I want to keep them all for myself and look at them all the time. Except that I got them for cagelets and barrettes and all that Posie stuff. But I want them all for myself. I really don't feel that way very often. I always use my very best stuff in my products. But there is something about these that makes me so happy, just looking at them, that I don't want let them go!

ButtonsgreenI think we got home around 10 p.m. It was absolutely the latest I have stayed out in I don't even know how long. I could not stop yawning -- I think I yawned about fourteen times in a row. How loser-ish is that, seriously. I told Shelly that a typical night past 10 p.m. for us is TiVo-ing The Brady Bunch and watching it in bed. I am obsessed with Carol's wardrobe lately. I had no idea how pretty she was, and how cool she looked all the time, especially in the early ones. I love the girls' bedroom, too. I watch it mostly to get glimpses of the bedroom -- that 70s-bright pink, the lemon yellow gingham, the eyelet. I don't know if there's any yellow gingham or eyelet in there, actually, but it seems like there is. And Priscilla curtains. Someday I'm gonna have another room with Swiss dot Priscilla curtains. Love those. Is it weird that Andy and I both identify most with the characters that share the same birth orders we do in our families? I loved Marcia, and he always sympathized most with Peter. But lately I am fascinated by Carol.

ButtonspinkBut about the buttons. I haven't cleaned these yet. I clean all my buttons with soapy water and a toothbrush. I don't know if the Ladies would approve, but that's what I do. It's very satisfying work, but it takes a long time. I clip off all their original threads or rusty wires or whatever evidence is left of their former attachments. I am really new to button collecting. These buttons don't seem to be very valued by the button society, which is why I like them. Most of the fun of finding them is digging through these enormous boxes of not-very-attractive buttons and picking out the charmers. I like the "finding" aspect the most, the plucking-them-from-the-pile part.

Buttonsaqua_1It's Saturday morning here in the shop. I wish I had brought the buttons with me. I want them by my side all the time. Business is so sloooooow at the shop lately I get completely bored off my nut sitting here talking to myself. I need some button-y joy. Chocolate bismarck might help too. Another little round thing that makes me happy. Coo. Dude.


I LOVE BUTTONS too! I keep mine in a clear glass apothecary jar where they can wink and sparkle at me (the rhinestone buttons do, anyway). It's a lovely jumble of shapes and colors sitting there on a shelf.

I have this strange love and fascination for buttons too. I don’t know what it is, but they are just so happy when they are in the palm of my hand, looking up at me.

I never use my best buttons or beads in my work. I don’t know why, but I feel this need to hoard things, to save them. One day, I will make something so beautiful that I feel that only the very prettiest will complete it. But until then, they will sit in shiny glass bottles on my shelves.

But why is business slow?? Your things are so pretty and the weather is so nice lately (except today) that you would think more people would want to walk around and do shopping. But me, I have finals. I hope things pick up soon!

I have button envy. bad. Those are the best buttons ever. I love them soooo much! sob sob sob

wow. i have button envy too. those are incredible. what finds! {i love that you clean them too}

What a lovely post and for some reason you have conjured up an image in my head, it is of a grandma driving, she is wearing a hat and gloves and every item of clothes is embellished with your beautiful buttons. Bizarre I know and I've only had a little sip of wine, honnest.

I need to expand my button collection as soon as possible, you have inspired me. Thank you.

Ah, yes, buttons. Another favorite of mine! Originally bought to adorn my bags and other...things...but soon realized there was NO WAY I could part with such beauty, such lovliness in the simplest form. Buttons. Lovely pics from your collection - thanks for sharing...

feel no guilt, buttons are wonderful! New buttons are one of life's small pleasures. Thanks for sharing them.

Chris Howard says: May 06, 2006 at 12:11 PM

I'm sensing a new project for you. I can see some very pretty posie-ish fabric stretched out on a frame with a sampler of your favorite buttons stitched on it. Maybe some embroidered leaves and vines around the buttons if you feel like being fancy. Sort of reminiscent of the collages you did for everyone, but only with buttons. How cute would that look?
I don't know what a chocolate bismarck is, but I want one. Have a great day!

Wow, those buttons! I'd use all kinds of profanity describing those buttons (in the most positive of ways, of course). You must have an amazing button box.

When Emma was a newborn and I got up with her at 5:30am, I'd watch Rhoda reruns for much of the same reason- fashion, apartment decor, lifestyle, so cool.

Those.are.incredible. I say attach them to a pretty card of some type and hang them up.

The vintage button shopping around here is lame. Hardly ever come across such beauties.

Leave it to you, Miss Alicia, to make a bunch of buttons look so dreamy!

sometimes it is the simplest pieces of everyday life that are the true treasures. vintage buttons are art in my opinion. i mean *dude* when's the last time you saw any buttons like yours on something new??

i love, love, love them!!

Oooh, those are some #*$@%'n buttons! Yesterday I bought a whole bag of buttons at an estate sale (it was a goodie if you want to check it out: SE 29th/Brooklyn, not sure how much would be left today). Last night I was sooo sick and tired and I had about a bagillion things I needed to do, but instead I sat down and sorted and washed my buttons in front of the TV. All was right with the world.

Did you noticed you laid out your buttons Brady-Bunch style?

(tiny little orphans that have somehow formed a family.)

Lovely, lovely buttons! I can see why you would want to keep them all to yourself.

* I like Edwina's observation.

I agree with you on the Brady Bunch thing. I have been shocked with myself lately...actually admiring colors, patterns, and what-not from the '70's! *gasp* I was driving down the highway this morning actually ADMIRING someone's old couch in the back of their pickup. I mean at first glance I was like, "ew, nasty ol' disco couch. Hope they're taking it to the dump." But then, I noticed that it actually had a pretty nice pattern and the colors weren't that bad! Sheesh. I don't know what's wrong with me. About buttons...they are my newest fascination. I never quite understood the obsession...until recently. Yay! Congrats on your recent button arrivals. I'm sure they'll be very happy in their new home. <3

*laura t

Salivating over those buttons. I LURVE red buttons. And clear buttons. And green ones. Oh, just gimme all of them.

Okay. I gotta ask. What is chocolate bismarck?

Okay -- a chocolate bismarck. The best donut on earth. It breaks my heart that you haven't had one of these. But it is like a jelly bismarck only filled with Bavarian cream and topped with chocolate instead of filled with jelly and topped with sugar. It's just so wrong in so many ways it's right.

How funny we have a matach! Look here at my favorite button:
long lost button-mates. :)

They are all so beautiful. There's such a thing as a button society? Wow, that sounds like my kind of place. If you don't mind me asking, how much did your little circles of joy cost?

I was actually making the same noises and sounds looking at the pictures of your buttons! They are extrememly yummy! So inspirational! Thanks for sharing - drool, slurp, oops! Excuse me!

This is the funniest and best looking blog post I've seen in a long time! I now covet all your buttons and your tivo...hmm..I gotta get one I guess. I am sorry to hear that the shop is boring right now, but happy that you are able to write entertaining posts during your down time. I still need to actually go in your shop-no more peeking in the windows when it is closed!

Those are fantastic! I want to go to a button society! Oregon must be the only state with one, though. How frickin quirky. Note to self: next time in Oregon, catch the ladies at the button society...

Lordy, I love them so, especially that pink one on the green background. (fourth square down) The cherry blossom in the middle? Sigh. I think you should definitely create something lovely in that beautiful green color, say maybe a small green & white check? with the pink cherry blossom button, and maybe some antique ecru linen, and maybe took a photo of it, or even maybe sold it? To me? You'd be giving it a very good home. Umm hmmm.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at