Heirloom Collection – Buttons

Heirloom Collection – Buttons note card

Earlier this year, I took a break from stitching, focusing instead on making assemblages with some of the sewing related objects I’ve collected throughout my life. As I rummaged through old boxes, grouping like things together, I realized that the quantities of spools, buttons and other vintage items I’d accumulated had reached a critical mass, where the whole was more interesting than the sum of its parts. My mind exploded with ideas for how to turn these collections into art that’s as ephemeral as sand painting.

18″ x 24″ Poster


It started on Valentine’s day, when I felt inspired to gather all of the old wooden spools of thread that I’d accumulated and arrange them in a heart shape, which I wrote about here. Since then, the thread heart image has been made into a note card and a poster, which are available in my Etsy shop. And I’m especially excited that it’s being made into a puzzle by C&T Publishing sometime next year!


After Rob took a photo of the thread heart, I cleared the table and put the spools back in boxes. Then, I separated by color the hundreds of buttons I’ve saved for no particular purpose. There were a lot of old white pearl buttons as well as quite a few blue and red ones. It was a mixture of old and new, from shell to plastic.

I wanted to make a simple homey scene, like a child’s drawing, so I formed the house first and built the design around it.

The button landscape took a few days to complete, which is nothing compared to the months I usually spend stitching just one piece. I put down wooden boards to provide a framework to work inside. My supply of blue buttons was limited, so I filled in large areas of the sky with white pearl “clouds”. It felt kind of like making a mosaic, without having to worry about gluing the buttons down.

Once the house, sky and sun were formed, I improvised in the area around the house, using browns and greens for the ground and other colors for flowers.

When the scene was almost finished, I removed the frame so it wouldn’t cast a shadow when the photo was taken. The Buttons image is printed on a note card, which is available in packs of 4 or in mixed sets with the thread spool heart in my Etsy shop

4 Card set of Thread and Button assemblages

The Thread Spools Poster is perfect for a sewing/craft room. It fits easily into a standard 18″ x 24″ frame, which you can see hung in my studio. The poster and cards are available in my Etsy shop.

18″ x 24″ Poster – Heirloom Collection: Thread Spools

After the thread spools and buttons, I made assemblages with other vintage items, including lace and souvenir dolls, which I’ll share more about in future posts.

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6 thoughts on “Heirloom Collection – Buttons

  1. Salley, I love these two creations. The thread spool heart reminds me of hearts made by Page Hodel and reproduced in a book “monday hearts for MADALENE” Have you seen it? I have an extra copy and will gladly send it to you if you’d like.

  2. Thé spools of thread heart reminded me of all the hours I spent sitting next to my grandmother as she sewed on her sewing machine. She made my clothes and a Bride Doll for me one Christmas.
    I loved the spools of thread that she kept in an old cookie tin. I still have it.
    I love that poster. Where can I get one?
    Did you print any in a little smaller size?

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