Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Winter's Over, Spring is Here

It's been some time since I have added info to this blog - February, March and April were full of button adventures, and NBS duties. And of course some horrible weather here in the east as well.

I had made plans to attend the button auction in Florida, but the weather cancelled my flight. Bad news. However, I always look for the bright side, and good news - it saved me a bundle of bucks! If you saw my button room, you would wonder why I would even think about buying more buttons. Most of you understand, it is an addiction - buttons being the drug!

I was unable to attend the Indiana show, had to stay home with family concerns, but all is well.
Johnson made it to show, and was happy to be able to see all our button buddies.

I had the opportunity to see an 18 button set of 18th century buttons, painted on Ivory with metal rims and glass covers. All of the scenes were different - pastoral themes - a woman milking a cow, and boy and his dog playing ball, couple looking longingly into one another's eyes, etc. Once the owner of the set is able to scan them, I hope to be able to share some pictures. What a treat to see them. Interestingly enough, the backs were ivory with a brass loop shank. Interesting and unusual construction too.

Of course, we had our Pennsylvania button show in a new location this time - a lovely Quality Inn in Meyerstown, PA. It is close to Lebanon, and the hotel was a 100% improvement over the last place. Great lighting in the showroom, terrific food in the hotel. Now, if we could just get the attendance up, it would be perfect.

I have just returned from the Ohio Button Show - and it was FANTASTIC! They certainly know how to do it up. Attendance was booming, enthusiasm was very high, and the program was wonderful. Dr. Maggie Whitson's programs about flowers on buttons was a real eye opener. And to top it all off, the program was held at Ohio State in conjuction with a display of buttons from the collection of Ann Rudolph, along with Flora and Fauna in Fashion and Buttons. Simply amazing. Ohio State is a great resource for information about buttons, and is available to the public for research purposes. You can make arrangements with the Costume department if you want to view the buttons or their fabulous costume collection. There was an absolutely outstanding 18th Century coat in the exhibit, complete with fabric embroidered buttons. Worth the trip all by itself!

Preparations are going well for Manchester. Certainly hope you will be able to attend the National Button Society Convention August 1 thru 8, 2010.

Do you have a friend in your button club that is not on the computer? Jim Krzycki of Nebraska is putting together a pen pal group, matching people of like interest who might want to stay in touch via letter writing. He is listed in your directory, so make sure you let your button friend know that this is an option. In this day of technology to the max, we want to make sure that we do not forget those that are not computer literate.

The on-line chat group 0 Buttonbytes, has reported on some interesting web sites, linked to museums, international clubs, etc. We hope to compile this list for you soon, and present some of these links to the nbs website. If you have any information, please email me at btns@comcast.net Annie Frazier

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Talking about Buttons

This Saturday, in the midst of a snowstorm, I was interviewed for Webtalk Radio about button collecting. If you want a listen,
go to www.webtalkradio.net and look for the link to the interview.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Button Exhibits

Interested in seeing some button displays? Well, many of our state and local clubs are busy spreading the word about button collecting.

The Doss Heritage Center in Wetherford, TX, in conjunction with the Texas State Button Society, has a button display from January 19 to March 6th titled Antique Buttons: Miniature Works of Art 17th Century to Present for details

Ohio State University in Columbus - an exhibit titled Flora in Fashion
which features buttons from the Ann Rudolph collection - details about the exhibit can be found at this link:

In New Jersey and the New York metro area, make a point to get to River Edge, NJ on March 21st to hear a button program, as well as view a collection that has been stashed away for years! Details are listed below.

Button Up! Sunday, March 21, 2010 – 12:00 to 4:00 pm
Come Out & Celebrate Women's History Month

Selections from the Elsie Heiss Button Collection will be on exhibit for the first time in more than 25 years. Elsie particularly collected buttons with images of birds. Takes place in the Steuben House. Bring your magnifying glass! Collection in the Bergen County Historical Society.
Selections from Bergen Button Club members will be on exhibit at the Steuben House. BBC member Pam Muzio will give a talk "Introduction to Buttons."

Buttons honoring George Washington, made at the time of his First Inauguration in 1789, will be shown, and their history will be described in a short talk. From a private collection.

Kevin Wright will give an illustrated talk on The History of Women in Bergen County in the Steuben House at 2 pm.

Button strings will be on show, please touch!

Button sewing exercise for children. Create a button project that may be taken home. Buttons donated by Simply the Best Clothing, 472 Cedar Lane, Teaneck.
Takes place in the Campbell-Christie House, led by Denise Piccino.

Refreshments in Black Horse Tavern, Campbell-Christie House, with Tavernkeeper John Oddie.
Demarest House Museum will also be open for tours.
Suggested donation for events unless otherwise noted: $7 adult, $5 children, BCHS members free.
Takes place at Historic New Bridge Landing, 1201-1209 Main St, River Edge, NJ.

New Bridge was a prosperous mill hamlet, centered upon a bridge strategically placed at the narrows of the Hackensack River, Bergen County, New Jersey.
The Steuben House, Campbell-Christie House and Demarest House are all located in the park. They are landmarks of Bergen Dutch sandstone architecture, popularly called "Dutch Colonial" and frequently seen and admired throughout northern NJ. The Steuben House still stands on its original site.
Please visit our website for more info • www.bergencountyhistory.org

Keep up the good work - Annie

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ideas for State Button Societies

As president of the National Button Society, collectors of Antique Clothing Buttons, useful information often crosses my desk and there is much I would like to share with you.

Absolutely the most useful tool that the NBS Board of Directors has been using in running this organization is the monthly teleconferencing. We have board meetings each and every month - problems are addressed quickly, and we are able to discuss solutions with one another. I am not advocating a particular one as there are probably many companies that offer this service, but we happen to use http://www.freeconferencecall.com/ Besides the ability to communicate with a large group, we have made our convention meetings less stressfull - no need to get a year's worth of problems solved in 4 hours. Much of the questions are presented in advance, giving everyone a chance to research, reflect and consider. If your state club is not meeting regularly, if you are planning your state show for next fall, if there is an urgent matter that requires immediate attention, you may want to consider communicating via a teleconferencing service.

Publicity - The most important element in increasing membership.
Every local and state club should have a publicity chairman. Advertise your meetings in the free newspapers in your area - invite beading and quilting societies to your meetings and shows, put flyers in antique shops - but most importantly - have someone coordinate these types of efforts.
You find new members by having them find you!

Here's a site that has some interesting reading for collectors of all sorts of things - you might find something useful on this site.

NBS is NOT endorsing any particular products. I am just sharing some information that I have found useful to me, and perhaps it will be useful to you too.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Collecting Antique Buttons - How It All Started

My journey into button collecting began 20 years ago. My husband and I were living in Bucks County, PA. We had regular 9-5 jobs, but because of the area we were in, we just loved to go auctioning and antiquing. We quickly acquired lots more Stuff than we could ever use – those box lots at auctions are very addicting, and so began selling collectables at the antique flea markets on the weekends.

A family friend needed some help, and asked us if we would be interested in selling antique buttons. His mother was a button collector and he had a large quantity of buttons to sell. Neither of us knew that buttons were even collectable. Well, actually, that’s not true. My husband knew that military buttons were collectable because he was a civil war reenactor with his father, when he was a boy. But since there were no military buttons in this group, neither of us paid much attention to what was in the box. We purchased a big pizza box full of loose buttons from him and the next day we were off to the antique market.

Vaguely aware that a price guide for buttons existed (but the book was much more expensive than the box of buttons we purchased), we decided to forgo the research and put the buttons out on the table for sale. We priced them at $1, .50, and .25, basically based on size. We were swarmed with customers in no time, and lots of questions – do you have more at home, will you bring more tomorrow, do you want to sell the whole box? Fully aware that it is never that easy to sell anything unless you are selling it way too cheaply, we shut the box (still half full) and shoved it back in the car.

I spent the next couple of weeks sorting through what was left of the box, becoming more intrigued every minute. I soon had two piles on my desk – one pile of buttons to sell (it was a pitifully small pile) and one to keep. I was hooked!!!!

That’s where the journey began. Now my husband and I are both avid collectors. I love the pretty buttons; he collects uniform buttons of all types, steamship, railroad, military, and political. I am currently the President of the National Button Society, have amassed a substantial collection of my own, and am blessed by being able to make my living selling something that I love – buttons. And I am left wondering what wonderful treasures I sold that very first day.