Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Antique Buttons Jewelry by Sacred Cake, and a Magical Happenstance Meeting to Share

Victorian mourning button bracelet by Sacred Cake

For years I've admired them. Lusted after their perfect antique patina, their intricate elegance...their antique button mystique. I've literally sat for hours sifting through sale boxes of buttons perfectly sewn to little white cards...and when a bit more money permitted, asked the sales person to open up the case...aaahhhh the glorious coveted Victorian button case, sprinkled with Art Nouveau button offerings of carved mother of pearl and Bakelite...in colors I've never seen and  beautiful Victorian Picture buttons like tiny scenes from an even tinier world.

antique floral buttons earrings for the Etsy Shop

For years, I wondered about the owner of the booth and how she amassed such an extraordinary collection. Now she was someone I wanted to meet! It just so happened that Nancy (her name) was there during a recent visit, restocking buttons as I came around the corner on the way to leave. I greeted her like a long lost friend. "It's YOU." "I can't believe you're HERE." I introduced myself and shook her delicate hand. (Nancy is in her 80's.) Well, to make a long story a little shorter, I practically invited myself to her house...yes, i did! I proclaimed that I was not a serial killer, that I wrote things for magazines and did her children want my number so they could check me out first?

antique cut pewter button with Water Lily
some of my exquisite floral Victorian antique buttons

I called her the next day and we made a date. I could hardly wait to talk with her more. The older generation has so much to talk about...so many stories to tell...and I love to listen. I wondered to myself on the hour long drive to her home if I'd be fortunate enough to make it to 80. Would I still be "hip"? Would I be set in my ways...?  Be the crazy cat lover lady that already lurks inside of me?
     Nancy is lovely with bright blue eyes and straw colored, wavy hair. We sat together for hours and talked of buttons and life and children, and more about buttons. We commented excitedly on the superbly detailed buttons I brought for her to see...I found it so amazing that out of the thousands of buttons Nancy has, she brought her favorites out to me in a small, rectangular glass topped box! That was it. Just one little box. I was amazed that she could limit herself to just that one...well, that one, and thousands more behind glass at the antique mall in Coloma, Michigan! (but those are all for sale)

antique black glass button bracelet by Sacred Cake

I brought a few pieces of button jewelry for her to see and we had tea and the best zucchini bread ever known. I bid farewell before the darkness fell. And it was just beginning to snow. Years ago, I would have just seen her there and politely told her that I liked her buttons and left it at that...I've learned to be more outgoing, to try to connect more with the world when I'm out in it, because my work is so solitary... and I have been dearly rewarded for it. It is funny that I've finally found my life's work, which I so dearly love, and it is such a quiet and solitary thing. I was always "the loud kid"...the one who always got in trouble for "talking to her neighbor in class."  It has become such a remarkable gift, this "talking to my neighbor." I find it so easy to relate to people...to make them feel at ease.
I hope you feel that way when you come here to visit. I really enjoy sharing  with you here and I am so grateful for your presence.
more of my Victorian button stash
Nancy has convinced me that I need to put some of my buttons on cards to show them off...to not ever use them for jewelry, and so I shall when time permits. Until then, they'll live in an old mason jar on my table, where I pour them into my hands and choose just the right ones for bracelets and necklaces and earrings like these...

antique glass button bracelet by Sacred Cake

vintage button and buckle necklace by Sacred Cake (me)
The song of my heart, made tangible.


  1. What a treasure! I am so glad you gave yourself the gift of Nancy's friendship. x

  2. Oh, this is a wonderful story, Jennifer. Sometimes it just pays to be 'the loud kid.'

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  4. oops, i did something wrong in the above comment. :) anyway what i meant to say was thanks for sharing that lovely story! and those buttons... oh my!

  5. Thank you all so much for your comments!

  6. The lotus looks so beautiful sitting on your button and the wooden look gives it a regal lift...love the style and the creations here,nice sharing.

  7. Ohhh Lordy, how we are so inner-twined! I must share pictures of my Victorian button stash from my grandma. I feel like I've mentioned this before, but u will LOVE them!

    I am sooooo enthralled by your story & your new friend. Thank you for reporting & revelling (sp?) in the beauty of life, connection, and the buttons that bind us.

    You are so sacred, beyond the ordinary!



Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! Please know that I am deeply grateful for your presence here.