Buttoned Up

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 4,819 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—6,550 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

For this week’s Stitching and Crafting/Buttoned Up Merit Badge, I was happy to start a new collection/hobby. After all, I haven’t collected anything since the infamous and embarrassing Beanie Baby craze of ’97, so I am pretty due. And what could be easier than buttons, right? I mean, come on, there are aisles and racks of them at the craft store.

Wait. Extra badge kudos go to finding them, not buying them, you say? Okay, I am up for a challenge. I can do that. Give me a pipe, a monocle (manacle?), and a Sherlock trenchcoat (I love plaid), and call me Nancy Drew. Alright, so I’m mixing metaphors and stuff, but you get the idea. I can be a button sleuth.

To my delight, I found my first few in the box of sewing supplies left to me by my Gramma Barbie (may she rest in peace … in her Florida retirement home, that is, where she socializes like it’s 1999). I was in love with the extra chunky one that looked like it came off a dapper gentleman’s coat. Then there were the tiny pearl buttons, so small they looked like you’d have to have elf hands to sew them on properly. I wondered what those were removed from? A wedding dress perhaps? Who knew buttons had stories?


If these buttons could talk … I was already scripting the Lifetime Original Movie in my head. Anyone know how to get a hold of Melissa Gilbert’s agent?

Well, anyway, Gramma’s buttons were a very small start to a very extensive collection (at least I hoped it’d be extensive, eventually). I started perusing the free boxes at yard sales, and scouring the want-ads for the mother lode I knew was out there, waiting for me. I was beginning to think I had an arch nemesis out there, one step ahead of me! Who was this button fiend? A college student majoring in Buttonology? A grandmotherly type with a hoarding habit? Or a Merit Badge-r like me … losing sleep over rhinestones versus precious stones, tortoise shell versus pearl, ivory versus plastic, Levis versus Wranglers, abalone versus military style? Don’t even get me started on traditional circular versus the more rebellious shapes!

I was seeing buttons floating before my eyes! They were everywhere! I was hungering for buttons like a wolf after a particularly delicious pile of bacon. I was eyeing stranger’s buttons with a singular passion that bordered on stalking. A Girl Scout backed away from me in fear and refused to sell me Thin Mints, just cuz I was a bit too interested in the history of her buttons.

I figured I’d better take a break. After all, I had my whole life to find the mother lode, the coup de grace, the piece de resistance of all buttons!

Until then, my instincts are honed and I’m guarding my meager collection like the treasure it is. I can even wish my nemesis well … is it you?

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