I just noticed I haven’t posted a picture of this one yet. This latest piece in the series, Our Ladies of Perpetual Housework, does not include a silver-leafed saint, but I still see it as part of the same series. It’s called Our Lady of Perpetual Frugality/Button House.

What’s it about?

It’s about letting go of that frugal mind-set that can be detrimental. The sides are covered with coupons, the back has paper images of coins, the roof is covered with buttons.

The penny jar and saved buttons symbolize saving/hoarding things for a rainy day (when it’s taken too far).

A friend I used to work with was from Tennessee and she said, “you know why people from Tennessee put there old couch out on the porch when they get a new one? Because they don’t believe they’ll ever get something nice again.”

That idea is what I’m rejecting in this piece. (and that mentality is not limited to one state! It can be found everywhere.)

The whole idea with the buttons started with this bag of buttons I got at a rummage sale. You know those extra buttons you get when you buy a nice shirt? It comes in a little tiny envelope and says “Extra Button,” well, the former owner of these buttons had labeled each and every envelope with a description of which piece of clothing it went with, “red blouse.”

The handwriting reminded me of my grandmother’s, she who lived through the Great Depression. No one really cares that much about their extra buttons anymore. If you lose one, there’s a good chance you’ll just donate the whole shirt, or take it to the cleaners and let them deal with it. Right?

I’m at once touched by her care and organization and recognize it as a lost thing. That level of care and frugality is not common anymore.

I loved that collection of extra buttons and around the same time was given someone’s great grandmother’s button collection. My kids poured through this basket of treasures and each took their prizes and marveled that anyone would give such a thing away.

I posted to a list and asked for extra buttons, the kind in the little envelopes and people were so kind and gave me lots. I’m putting those in resin in little petri dishes. Sounds weird maybe, but they look cool. I envision a bunch of those on the wall behind the Button House in a gallery. (that’s it’s casual nickname.)

Inside Button House are a mending kit and a tiny quilt, in addition to the penny jar.

Button House Copyright Elaine Luther 2015

Button House Copyright Elaine Luther 2015

I love quilts and sewing, don’t get me wrong, but what symbolizes using up scraps more than quilt making? Mending, quilting, it’s all part of that frugal thing.

Frugality has served me well in the past, but now I have an abundance mindset.