the button box.

It seems like there are wildly varying reactions to the COVID situation these days.  Some people are still wearing masks everywhere, avoiding social gatherings like the plague (can we use that expression anymore, or does it hit too close to home?), and continuing to work from home.  While others are having weddings with buffet style dinners (Mr. Q’s nephew, in Wisconsin) and heading to the casino for bingo night (my mom, in Nevada).

Here in Minnesota, I’m measuring the decreased vigilance against COVID based on the number of garage sales happening.  For most of May, garage sales were few and far between.  I happened upon a couple of barn sales out in the country at the end of May and that was about it.  Since then it seems like the number of sales each weekend has been growing steadily.

The weekend before last, my friend Sue texted me about a sale happening just a few blocks away from me.  I hopped in the car and headed over.  I ended up having to run back home and get the van to haul away my finds.

Then during this past week, the number of garage sale signs in my area seemed to explode.  I went to several sales on my lunch hour.  At one of them I had to once again go home and get the van and come back.  I came home with four sleds and several iron trellises.

I was especially excited to find the sleds.  I revamp them and they tend to sell really well as winter decor.  I usually find 3 or 4 at various sales each summer, but I did not have high hopes for this year.  So I was really tickled to find 4 of them in one go.

This past Saturday my sister and I drove around randomly looking for garage sale signs and I ended up coming home with lots of great vintage pieces.  Here’s just the big stuff.

I also brought home several boxes of smaller items that will get a quandie-style makeover.

I spent most of yesterday working on a few of them, so I thought it might be fun to share one per day for the rest of this week.  Yep, you read that right.  I’m planning to post every day until Friday.

I’m going to start with this adorable little button box.

I found it at an estate sale on my lunch break.  It was the only thing I purchased at that particular sale.

If you know me at all, you probably realize that the fact that it looks like a miniature dresser is what really appealed to me.  But I was also drawn to the pretty colors of all of the spools of thread.  Whoever owned this must have been fond of colorful things.

It was still full of old buttons and other sewing supplies.

I felt a little bit sad knowing that someone once used this button box when mending clothes or replacing a lost button.  Do people even do that anymore?

I also knew it would be adorable with a few little tweaks, and maybe someone will love it once again.

To begin with, I decided to spray paint it.  Painting around all of the little pegs for the spools of thread would have been putzy using a brush.  I had some Rustoleum spray paint in Heirloom White on hand, so I just used that.

Next I pulled out an IOD transfer that I recently ordered online.  Lest some of you get confused, IOD is no longer associated with with prima.  I am a brand ambassador for with prima, but that doesn’t mean I can’t occasionally check out the competition.  Back in the day when IOD and prima worked together, they had a series of transfers meant for clay pots.  I totally LOVED them and used them on pretty much anything that wasn’t nailed down.  So when I realized that IOD had re-issued them on their own in a collection called Classic Pots I simply had to have them.  They arrived in the mail on Saturday, and you’re going to see them on a couple of the things I share this week.

I cut apart one of the 14 different designs on the transfer to add to the front of the box.

I also added part of the transfer to the trim piece behind the spools …

Seriously, how cute is that?

The spools of thread that came with the box were the old fashioned wooden ones, not those darn new-fangled plastic ones.

I don’t know how much a spool of thread costs today, but I’m guessing it isn’t 15 cents.

And why does it say ‘fast to boiling’?  Why would you want your thread to boil quickly?  Oh … wait, I get it.  They mean the thread is color fast even if you boil it, don’t they?

I had the perfect paper for lining the drawers.

This paper is from October Afternoon’s Farmhouse collection and was called Button Box.  Sadly, they went out of business so you’ll have a hard time finding any of it.

The 12″ x 12″ sheet of paper has three rows of four different button package graphics.  One row of 3 fit perfectly in each drawer.


Now comes the hard part.  Do I keep this for myself, or do I sell it?

I’m planning to head in to Reclaiming Beautiful on Wednesday with a few things, so I guess I have until then to decide.

What would you do?

46 thoughts on “the button box.

  1. Ohh that is too sweet! I couldn’t part with it if it were me. Of course, that’s why my basement is full! Such a delightful makeover!


  2. Keep it! The fact that you had the cute drawer liners tells me it was meant to be yours! 🙂 You can always sell it later. (Coming from someone that has regret over selling something she would like to have back!) LOL


  3. You can sell it to me! I’ve been sewing since I was 12 and that’s been a long time ago. I work in a small fabric/quilting shop and also sew samples for the shop. It would look perfect in my sewing studio. Since it is small it could be shipped. If that’s possible I loved to buy it.


  4. Oh, such a wonderful haul of garage sale goodies! The button box is charming. I’d sure have a hard time selling it!


    1. If I was a sewer (wait, that can’t be the right word, can it?) … a seamstress? someone who sews? Anyway, if I was any of those things I would have definitely kept it 😉


  5. I think that is the sweetest item you have ever painted! I love it, coming from a long line of tailors and sewers I can appreciate every detail. I would keep it.


  6. Because I sew and come from a long line of sewing matrons I also would keep it. I am in Northern Iowa and wish I could find all the wonderful garage sales you did!! So smealous!!!


  7. I would sell it, even though it’s the cutest thing ever. Some quilter or seeing crafter will fall in love with it and will totally appreciate all the work and detail you put into it!


  8. Keeper. That sewing station is a one of a kind beauty. You really need to soul search before parting with it. Compact yet the functional since you can actually fit things in the drawers. Little drawers are cute as can be but not as useful.


  9. The button box is absolutely adorable!! All the details make it very special. Someone is going to be so happy!! 🙂 Another job well done! Your garage sale finds are really cool! So glad to find sales again!!


  10. I love it! I have a button box given to me as a child when I began my sewing career! Mine would be considered a miniature Highboy dresser! 8 spool holders on top with a small tomato pin cushion in the middle! After seeing your makeover, mine is definitely under consideration!
    As hard a decision to sell is…imagine if someone has been looking for just an item like this to complete their room decor! How satisfying is that!?!
    You have done a beautiful job!


    1. Oh, I bet your button box is adorable. I say go for it on the makeover, it was a quick afternoon project. The results definitely exceeded the time spent on it.


  11. The little box is adorable Miss Quandie! What is it with me and colors these days? If you keep it, maybe put neutral –colored threads on top!!??? Hope this isn’t a reflection of a bland and colorless soul! But hey, my soul just cries out for those FOUR sleds that you scooped up! NOBODY else has the embarrassment of riches that you do in your garage sale options! It’s like a perpetual lottery win! (-; (-: (-;


    1. Your comment has me chuckling out loud Connie. I’m right with you on the color thing these days, as you’ll realize as the week goes on. I’m painting everything either white or black … although there is a little green thrown in here and there. And those sleds really did feel like an embarrassment of riches. I felt a little guilty buying them all, but that’s just silly, isn’t it? The seller just wants to get rid of them, they aren’t trying to ration them out, right?


  12. I am laughing as I read this post because the box turned out so darned cute! I would have a tough time letting it go, even though I rarely need to mend anything these days.😄


  13. I would keep it! I realize one can’t keep everything,but this one is charming and useful. Your decision….


    1. In a way the decision was taken out of my hands when one of my local readers asked if she could buy it. But I’m more than happy to be sending it to a good home 🙂


  14. Hi Linda, if you decide to sell it, can I buy it from you rather than takIng it to Reclaiming Beautiful??




  15. How cute it is!! I would keep it, enjoy and maybe (the key word is ‘maybe’) sell after.
    Re: transfers… Thank you for the update on the partnership between EOD and Prima. I just started to use Prima products (after reading your blog, actually) and hope that their separation won’t affect the product line.
    Oh, did i mention i’m drooling over those 4 sleds you found? I am. Big time. Can’t wait to see how you dress them.


  16. That’s the cutest little thing!! Not surprised it’s already scooped up! As someone who used to sew 6 days a week…that sure caught my eye. I’ve been working on organizing all my old sewing related items planning for winter projects. Due to my husband’s health issues, are still hunkered down going no where except Walmart pickups. And I expect it to be this way for a long, long time.


  17. Turned out so cute!! You always amaze me with your projects! Plus you work full time! I work full time, have a booth, do some furniture painting but not near what you do! Sometimes I would rather be in the garden and tending my chickens 🙂 So excited you are posting every day too! I’m jealous of your finds – sales are starting to pop up here, but kids clothes and just plain junk 😦


    1. I suppose it’s more appropriately called a sewing box, but since the scrapbook paper’s name was Button Box, I had to go with it 😉 Plus, these days most of us would just use it when we need to sew a button back on, right?


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