Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bucket Of Buttons

Thank you for the many supportive comments yesterday. Now that we're looking at things differently, we're hopeful that it's "only" stress because Howard's work situation has been increasingly difficult for a long time - years. Significant changes, like not being on call 24/7, would be helpful only when he went to work yesterday intending to do just that - make changes, he instead learned that at the manager's meeting this past weekend the owner had increased the pressure on the men to significantly up their output. I'm pretty sure that's not going to be met with success. Everyone is already on overload and there's been a steady stream out the door. Several of the remaining employees are reviewing their options including employees in key positions and those that are staying are not willing to work themselves to death or - LOL - their wives aren't willing to let them.

What does it say about our current working culture that employees are treated as interchangeable and expendable tools. Break one, throw it away, get another one. Just a number. If nothing else, the next few weeks and months are bound to be interesting. I'm glad...




... to have creative outlets in my life that energize and take the pressure off.  Above are the two scarves I bought at the Salvation Army thrift store on Saturday. They are both about three feet square including the fringed edges. I intend to refashion the top one - it's wool - and wear the bottom one - it's cotton. I haven't decided if I'll cut up the wool scarf and include it in a garment or if I'll layer and quilt it as a centerpiece for the table. We'll see which happens first.




In June, I sewed a black and lime coat with fuchsia buttons that I took to the Design Outside The Lines workshop. Marcy's feedback was that it would have been nice to vary the size of the buttons. Where I live, it's hard enough to find buttons that work never mind in a variety of sizes. The buttons above are darker and bluer in real life than they look in this picture. They're similar in color to the ones on the coat and when I saw them, I remembered Marcy's advice and bought these for a future project.




The two black buttons on the left and the three copper ones are for purses. The six navy blue ones with swirls are for my friend Caroline as part of her Christmas present. She LOVES buttons.




These turquoise ones are on a card. They're probably vintage but I'm not sure. This is a color that's been showing up a lot lately. Apparently it's my new favourite... probably because it goes so well with lime, fuchsia, and navy - my other favourites.

On Saturday, my friend and I went to see a collection of buttons - over a million and a half - that are stored in a woman's basement. It's not an official store however, if you know about it you can visit and make purchases. When it was an official store in another city, you could buy a scoop of buttons from the bulk bin for $5.00. When we visited on Saturday, we could buy a baggy of buttons for the same price. I did not have the energy to figure out how many baggies I needed and could see myself trying to pick through the buttons to get the "right" ones. It was too overwhelming because...




... what I wanted was a lot of buttons to cover the surface of a coffee table similar to the one above. I don't have the coffee table yet but this is the shape I'm searching for in the second hand stores. I want to use spaced risers to support glass above the buttons and...




... cover the top with buttons of various sizes spray painted black with touches of copper like I did years ago for the mirror in my main bathroom. That takes a LOT of buttons so...




...when I couldn't face all that decision making, I asked Darlene - the woman whose house we were at - how much she'd charge for the bucket of "free" buttons because it didn't seem right to simply pick it up and walk away. She said $10.00. SOLD. There are all kinds of things in the bucket besides buttons including some wonderful vintage finds - definitely more than enough to make the coffee table once I find it - YES YES ! ! ! 

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - "free" buttons

22 comments:

  1. What does it say about our current working culture that employees are treated as interchangeable and expendable tools. Break one, throw it away, get another one. Just a number.
    ============================
    There's a word for that: fungible. It means that you can easily swap one thing/person for another.

    I've run into it so much recently. With our orchestra.....managment handled things in such a way that our renowned conductor resigned. Management thinking is: no big deal, just hire another one. But that's not so easily done. That guy was a once in a lifetime kind of guy. He *isn't* replaceable.

    My work is getting to be the same way. Such a shame. We used to be such a collegiate company, which is what I loved about it. Most of the people have been here for years, and are very skilled at what they do. Many of them have doctorates, and are geniuses. Our company is paid to invent things. We need creative and collegiate.

    The new director of programs says: No big deal to lose a bunch of these guys (because he doesn't treat them respectfully); if you have good procedures it doesn't matter who does them. Uh, no. It really doesn't work like that. The guys who has been inventing stuff in our industry are world class. You can't just replace them with a 35 year old who hasn't even worked in the industry, but is a buddy of the new director.

    I think it has something to do with selfish, snobby thinking. The upper level thinks he/she is a special snowflake, but that the people below them are not, they're just pondscum, not worthy of respect for what they do, fungible.

    Sad, isn't it.


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    1. I so agree with you. Years of expertise is an asset that is being taken for granted in today's employment culture and yet it's so obvious when one stops to consider the value of knowledge at all levels. I have forty years experience sewing. I am able to help others and I am learning from others with more experience than myself. There is such a huge disconnect in industry now when in the past the master "craftsman" was revered, valued, appreciated.

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  2. I bought some buttons the other day...and got home and realized I already had some of those buttons in my stash. I must have REALLY liked them! :)

    Also, sometimes I pull out my collection of buttons from random apparel items over the years and it's funny how I can remember those garments!

    What a great haul you got!

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    1. LOL - I've rebought the same buttons before too. I got a GREAT haul. Very fun.

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  3. Love love LOVE the button table top idea! I have a project that I might just stealImeanincorporate this idea into....thanks!

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    1. Incorporate away. I'd love to see what you create.

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  4. I love your button idea...I just might already have enough in my stash to cover a small table that I was considering giving away. I would love it with buttons and paint. How will you attach the buttons? Some kind of special glue, adhesive...??????
    Cassy

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    1. What I did with the mirror was glue the buttons on with hot glue and then prime with brushed on primer and then black spray paint and then copper spray paint. This time, I'd prime the table surface first, glue on the buttons, and then follow the same procedure. Light, repeated layers of spray paint are better to avoid a build up of paint in the holes or drips.

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  5. People are not cogs in the machine. We had to learn that during the Industrial Revolution....and as the saying goes, if you don't learn from the past, you're doomed to repeat it.

    I'm glad you have myriad creative outlets. That will help immensely. Don't forget exercise, though! ---she says, nagging gently.... ;)

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    1. And here we go repeating. Sigh.

      I've started running on the spot again. Thanks for caring.

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  6. Love the button ideas....and you're right about turquoise....it's showing up a lot. Stress is such a bugger isn't it? I'm off for another 2 days to finally ( FINALLY) kick this cold thing. Looking forward to some stress free creative time and some rest. Thankfully I've cleared away some backlog and gotten some more assistance at work and home. Yay! Fingers crossed for you. But I think that the " work more for less " idea is so pervasive. Whether it's less money or respect or creative control or whatever....

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    1. Stress is horrible and insidious. It sneaks up on you and then whammy. Take care of yourself. I agree about the pervasiveness of the more for less attitude. Howard and I have been having lots of talks about less is more, a much preferable approach IMHO.

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  7. A very timely post about the climate in many work places. I went into a national chainstore in Auckland the other day and could not find a single salesperson. This is a major retailer and a very large store with many departments, finally I tracked down a person at the makeup counter, who was amazing BTW, to help me with some underwear purchases - two packs which had one pair removed out of every pack. She stated that even though it was coming up to Xmas they were removing people and not replacing... we waited for a manager (not downsized) for 20 minutes as they were all in a meeting!!! to be told that she could not combine the packs to make one and I would have to come back another day and there might be more stock---NOT!

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    1. What stuns me about what you wrote is that the manager didn't feel she could make that decision on her own and then she fully expects you to come back. HELLO ? ? ? In Amanda Lang's book The Power of Why, she talks about this loss of ability and ownership for "our" jobs. For those of us who don't see things from that perspective, I guess it's going to come down to each of us individually figuring out what we can and can't live with but the stress of making that kind of decision is hard too.

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  8. Just saw your post from yesterday and the fun button one above. Big hugs and lots of prayers are sent your way. In my Bible study group today, one of the gals shared, "When all you have is God, you have enough." I thought that might bless you today.

    Also of interest, we are studying the life of Gideon from Judges 6-8. God wanted His people to trust Him again, so God had Gideon reduce the number of soldiers he had down to 300 before going against the Midianites who'd been stealing their crops & animals. This made the odds something like 1 to 450! God wanted to make sure they did not take the credit for their success, but instead gave God the glory. Remember, when we are weak, He is strong! Yes!!
    Carrie

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    1. Thanks for your hugs Carrie. They are much appreciated. Definitely going to take a God thing, especially today, as his manager is not going to take well the cutting back of hours especially not manning the phone 24/7 however, overtime is voluntary and Howard's still offering to work 1/2 an hour each day and 10 additional hours and answer phones until 10 at night on days he works and that's both generous and a significant cut back.

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  9. At some point the Personnel Department that was responsible for staff welfare among other things became Human Resources and employees became another 'resource' like the supplies the company bought - to be used up and replaced as needed.

    Myrna, what matters is your and Howard's future and life together. If you have to make changes to protect that then so be it.

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    1. Resource as opposed to greatest asset. I wonder if this will be one of those you don't know what you've got until it's gone kind of things because it's hard to replace employees with experience but you definitely miss them when no one can answer that question.

      Thanks for your support.

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  10. Myra,
    Prayers are always answered, just not exactly as we ask but as God deems it to be for our good.
    Since Howard has you and the two of you as a team I know that you will 'winter' the changes. As Anonymous above said, God will bless you in unexpected ways. Isn't our God a wonderful part of our lives?

    Your coffee table idea is great. I have one that has gone through three Rottweiler and one Brussels Griffon. It was a parquet type top, but the dogs pulled up the strips of wood and ate them. I don't know if I would go with buttons, but you have given me an inspiration that will grow in the back of my mind until I come up with something that will fit into the living room window. Yes, the dogs get up on the table and use the picture window as dog TV. Lots of barking and growling and leaning against the window frame when bored.
    Have a blessed day, Karen W in S.W. Ohio

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    1. LOL - see today's grateful. It's good that prayers aren't always answered the way we asked. Sometimes, we're asking without "all" the information.

      A friend used a textured paint on her countertops and then covered it with three part epoxy. She can put hot pans right from the stove or oven on to that surface and it doesn't mar it at all. Sounds perfect for the dogs. It's self leveling. You pour it over, manage the drips, and it evens itself out so you can pour it over anything from textured paint to objects. You could cover your table in dog bone shapes or copper cut outs or just about anything. In Canada - pennies are a favourite right now since they aren't in circulation any more. The epoxy would protect everything and you wouldn't need the glass which might not be great with dogs.

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  11. You are always inspiring! I LOVE the coffee table idea with buttons!

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    1. LOL - I'm glad that mid mess I'm still inspiring. It's an idea I've been thinking over for a while. I did find the right coffee table once. It was on someone's porch and every time I knocked on the door - even though I could hear people inside - no one would answer so I eventually gave up. We had neighbors like that once. They didn't ever answer the door except for pizza delivery which had to be turned on edge and passed through the crack.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.