Puss in Boots and Button Bin Digging

So yesterday I was kitting up all kits for the workshop I am getting ready for.  I am helping a group of ladies make an iron caddy tote.  I have made many of these.  Number four is in the works.

The difference between the bags before and the bag now, I actually drew out the pattern on paper vs drawing my lines on the fabric.  My latest iron caddy tote, will now be called a purse or my lunch bag.

It has been more than a year since I made my last few bags.  I wanted to refresh and get re-acquainted in making this for a smoother teaching experience.  I also wanted to make sure the clean newsprint I used would not tear with the walking foot, and would tear off easily when you need to remove it.

I did learn that I had to make my bag sandwich with another layer.  I had to use tissue paper because I am using oil cloth.  For those of you who do not know what oil cloth is, it is an older technology that made cotton fabric water resistant.  Can water penetrate the cloth, you bet.  Many of you will think back to a family member who had a table cloth on their table that would wipe clean.  It had a shiny surface, and may have had a fuzzy back.  This also protected the table from rings from sweaty glasses and any messes made.

When sewing oil cloth, if you use a metal foot, it will stick to the cloth, grab it something fierce and not allow movement.  My walking foot is part plastic and part metal.  My base plate of my machine is metal.  So adding this layer of tissue prevented it from sticking.  I had a hard time cutting this fabric with my rotary cutter and ruler.  I could not just scoot the ruler on top as normal fabric, it would stick!

So I can now pass on even more info in case someone makes a lunch sack instead of the iron caddy tote.  I am re-familiarized,  Yesterday was a good sewing day.

I am to the point of installing the buttons.  On my previous caddy totes I opted for hook and eye closure so I will not have to iron over a large button under my pressing surface.  So yesterday me and the girls got out my 6 gallons of buttons.  Six gallons?  Yup that is right, six!  One can never have too many buttons.  I have not bought a button at the store in years.  I am amazed at the things I find in there.  One of my button bins was my Grandmothers.  Her being from the depression era she saved everything.  If a garment wore out, the buttons were cut off and then the garment was used as a rag or trashed.  It is possible the button bin that was hers came from another estate.  My Grandparents frequented auctions to snatch up unwanted items for dirt cheap. My Grandmother went to these sales because Grandpa went.  She would complain about going all the time.  And the stuff she brought home usually was a rug for the floor or other utilitarian items (I suppose I am like her in that regard).

So we were digging around in the bins, and I had my ipad handy and decided to look up buttons on the internet by searching a simple description of the button.  I found a very important button.  Is it hers or one from another estate?   That is the question.

My grandfather was in the Navy.  Shortly after WWII my father came into this world.  My grandmother took my grandfathers navy woolen coat and made a coat for my father.  I am now on the search for this photograph and will enjoy digging through old photos.  I will be in search of that particular photo.  I am looking for visual proof that beyond a reasonable doubt the button I found was once on my grandfathers jacket, and on my fathers jacket.  I hope I find my proof.  Regardless, this button will go onto my lunch bag.


Above is a navy pea-coat button made from Bakelite.  The red button is going on the opposite side.  I could not find a second black button that would match.  So scrappy and mismatched it will be!


I did find a GAR civil war button.  I cannot make out what the button says on the back.  I will be taking that to work and looking at it under a microscope to see if it is a reproduction or the real thing.  Either way it is probably worth the same.  When I read it was a civil war button, I thought I had struck it rich.  I only have one.  If I had many, perhaps, but right now the going price for this is $2.  To me, priceless, as many generations have handled this button.  Oh the stories it could tell, even if it is a reproduction.

And then I came across this button:


This button is heavy and untarnished.  Most buttons if brass is present will get dirty.  This one has not.  I looked up this in an internet search and came up with nothing.  I think it is a coronation button from the 50s.  I think it is a brittish commonwealth symbol.  Australia kept coming up in my searches, but no other button pictured was anything like it.  Perhaps it is my retirement.  Perhaps it is a conversation piece.  Perhaps it will rest in the tin for the rest of my life.  Perhaps someone will inherit my tin, and other generations will fondle my buttons.  Hmmmm that rather sounds perverse!  If you have any information on this button please leave a note in the comments section.

Lastly, there is puss in boots.  All of the kittens from this batch all have four white feet with some white on their bellies.  One is black and white, one is tabby, and three are mackrel tabby.  A hodge podge group.  Three of the kittens have a perfect M on their forehead which means they are tabby cats.  The one that is a true tabby has the prettiest facial markings, with lights and darks, mask, and whiskers.  This cat is very branded.  This is the first cat I have named in over 10 years….most just end up being called kitty.  So when you say kitty kitty at my house at feeding time, they all show up.  🙂

I thought long and hard on the name.  I used to watch the Simpsons on TV.  I grew up with them.  They have been on air for almost 30 years.  They epitomize the American way.  For those of you who watch, you are familiar with Cletus.  He is the slack jawed yokel.  Basically he is a hillbilly.  Thinking of his voice, it makes me smile.  Hank Azaria sounding like a hillbilly, he does an outstanding job.  Cletus is not married, but has a girlfriend who is the mother to all 16 of his kids.  Her name……BRANDEAN.

So I know this kitten will have many babies and never be married.  She will live up to this name nicely!  Say hi to Brandean.  This is her internet debut.


I am glad she does not have an “L” on her forehead, that would be messed up!

Happy Father’s Day!